Several days ago, I walked to the bank to make a deposit but when I got there, I realized that I couldn’t go into the lobby. Then I thought maybe I could make a deposit at the ATM. The directions on the ATM machine said to deposit checks and cash without an envelope, so after inserting my debit card and selecting, “DEPOSIT” as the option, I put a $5 bill in the slot and was instructed to continue. I had a small stack of checks and bills, but as I tried to put a check in, it became stuck. The opening was too narrow, so I pulled the check out, and tried to figure out how it could be reinserted so I could complete the transaction.
As I pondered this, the instructions on the ATM suddenly changed from, “Insert the next bill or check” to, “Your session has timed out”. I was then instructed to complete my transaction inside the bank, but I obviously couldn’t do that. The ATM also kept my debit card and the $5.00, and it did not print me a receipt. In all fairness, I may have missed the instructions to print a receipt, and was simply timed out again.
I signaled the drive-thru teller and tried to explain what had happened, but she was dealing with the drive-thru customers in cars, and sort of yelled/mouthed through the glass that I needed to get in line to straighten out my problem. After a few words back and forth, I realized that I had no choice but to go stand in place (behind the last car in the queue). I decided that I’d just make a mental note of which car was last, and then walk to the teller after that car had gone through, instead of actually standing behind the car which would involve, in addition to feeling ridiculous, breathing in the fumes of the idling car/s.
A half hour later, I reached the window, explained my dilemma, and hoped to finish the deposit and get my debit card back. I was allowed to complete the deposit but the teller informed me that I couldn’t get my original card back. It seems that when an ATM machine keeps the card, it isn’t for “safe” keeping. They shred it. In addition, there was no record of my $5.00 deposit. The teller offered to print me another card, but said that it might not have the same numbers as the old one, and that she would need to see my ID to print a new one. I hadn’t thought to take my ID with me when I’d walked to the bank. She also told me that I’d need to fill out a request asking the bank to look into my $5.00 ATM unrecorded deposit.
I was beginning to get upset. Thoughts like, “This is an outrage! I don’t have time for this, How can something so simple be so complicated, I am going to change banks!”, raced though my mind as I walked home to get my ID. On my walk back to the bank, I had some time for reflection. Was this really the disaster that my mind was trying to convince me that it was? No. Was there really even a problem? No. Was I really that pressed for time? God, No.
I returned to the bank, got back in line, and waited on the grass for my turn at the drive-thru window. Twenty five minutes later, I was given a new card with the same numbers. The teller had also filled out the form for me. We had a nice exchange.
Later that day, I went to my online banking to make sure that the deposit actually did go through. As I looked over my statement (something I never do) I noticed that the bank had been charging me a $25.00 per month service charge for the past 5 months.
OMG…the same feelings hit as earlier in the day. I became physically hot. My pulse started to race. I immediately called the bank. The recorded message said that due to an unusually high something, the wait was estimated to be 25 minutes. I put my phone on speaker and took a deep breath. Then I opened one of my favorite spiritual books, and within 30 seconds I realized what an opportunity this was. I thought to myself, “Twice in one day. I am being offered something here. If this costs me $125 to pay more attention and to stay calm, then it is worth it. It is therapy.” I actually laughed to myself. I also knew that I had to have a very open and loving heart when I talked to the person who would ultimately answer my call, if I wanted this opportunity to unfold in a harmonious way.
When a woman finally picked up the call, I kindly and calmly asked her to check out the charges. She put me on hold and within a few minutes returned with an explanation. Apparently I hadn’t kept a minimum of $2500.00 in my checking account. I didn’t realize that I needed to do that, so the balance, while staying close to that amount, wasn’t there every day of every month. Then she did something extraordinary. She refunded my account all the charges, and told me that since I was over 60, the bank offered a checking account that paid interest and had free checking if I maintained a very small minimum monthly balance.
So if my earlier deposit had gone as planned, and I hadn’t had the glitch at the ATM, lost my card, and had trouble with my deposit, I wouldn’t have checked my statements and found out that I was paying a fairly significant service charge every month. It all worked for my good. Was the earlier difficulty Spirit’s way of getting my attention? I think it was.
One thing that I’ve been saying a lot during this pandemic is, “Try to stay curious when things don’t seem to be going ‘my way’”. It’s so easy to say this. It is so wise. I even love the sound of the word, curiosity. It’s good to remind myself that curiosity, not blind fear, is the way that I want to approach life. Curiosity opens doors. Fear shuts them/me down. I wasn’t curious for the first part of this story. Then I was. Then I wasn’t. Then I was. We don’t have to do this perfectly for things to work out, but we do need to keep coming back to some larger wisdom that helps us to find Truth… and I was (eventually!) able to do this.