It was a fall blowout sale, and I was holding a sign on a cool October day for the Furniture Outlet. It was raining and I was trying my best to be animated, despite my joints seizing up. I didn’t have a hand free for an umbrella, and besides, it was against the company policy. I wasn’t selling umbrellas; I was selling relaxation, and perhaps my torment encouraged buyers to think how fortunate they were to watch their football games in their heated homes.
God has a sense of humor, I guess, or a sadistic personality, but there is one thing for sure, it is always best to have God on your side. He was mid-thirties, with a full beard and long hair, standing casually in the rain with a red and white umbrella and a toothy grin. Cars routinely stopped in front of him like a drive-through at a fast-food restaurant. I couldn’t see what was happening, or I didn’t want to see. I was making $7.20 an hour. By the through-traffic, the man was making well-over a hundred.
The rain was merciless; it was like icicles that hadn’t frozen. I was about to give up employment and inevitably learn one of life’s lessons—that it’s better to be warm and content, than ambitious and caught in the rain.
Then the bum motioned that I should cross the street, and I trusted him. It was like Jesus saying, “Come and follow me.” And when I got to the other side, he smiled and pulled a waterproof jacket from his duffel-bag full of cash.
“This’ll keep you warm,” he said.
It didn’t smell and I didn’t see any fleas, so I abandoned my sign and put it on.
“The world makes you work, huh,” he said.
“Well, I’m going to offer you a bit of advice, “Work is a waste of time. Follow your heart and make a sign.” He popped a beer.
I looked at him skeptically, but he had a full bag of cash. Obviously, he had figured-out something I hadn’t.
“I don’t often do this because it limits a young man’s potential, but I can see you aren’t motivated by money, so the sign is only a means, and not an end. Here is God’s Sign.”
I looked at it, it said God Bless.
“You’ll never have to worry about money again,” he said.
And he put the sign in my hands and walked off. I held God’s Sign and started making hundreds of dollars, from mini-vans, soccer-moms, and Christian do-good-ers. I must’ve looked in desperate need, holding that sign, and then the heavens opened up and the clouds cracked with light.
“This is my beloved son in whom I am well-pleased.” I admired the rainbow and the cash I could no longer stuff into my pockets. It truly was heaven on earth.