My first job was at the bakery in the Towne Mall. It was a small place with one set of lit glass display cases. Shoppers stared at the custard-filled donuts, coconut macaroons, and apple fritters as they passed by. I was especially drawn to the custard-filled donuts.
Being a high-school junior, I worked the after-school shift. Friends waved or stopped to talk for a minute or two on their way to other stores. I greeted customers with a smile, filled their orders, kept the cases fully stocked, and packed the goodies away at closing.
Soon I noticed that the longer a person worked at the bakery the more responsibilities he or she was awarded. I watched as other teens baked the coconut macaroons, glazed the apple fritters, and filled the donuts with custard. I looked forward to the day when I would get to move up the corporate ladder.
As the weeks passed, I observed a co-worker with less seniority than me getting to fill the donuts with custard. I kept smiling and kept greeting customers and kept restocking the glass cases. But I never got asked to fill the donuts with custard. One night at closing, I casually said to my co-worker, “I wonder when I’ll get to fill the donuts with custard?”
FREEZE TIME. I was seventeen. I had the highest GPA in the Class of ’79 at Madison High School. I could wiggle with the best of them on the drill team in the Mohawk Marching Band. I was emerging as a leader as president of the junior class. I was singing at weekend gigs with the Country Breeze Band. I was riding my Honda 90, water skiing, and dating. I had no limitations and the world was before me.
UNFREEZE TIME. My co-worker replied, “The owner says you can’t fill the donuts with custard because you only have one arm.”
I looked at her blankly and blurted out, “What?” Confused, I replayed the words in my head. I couldn’t process them. I struggled, “What does my arm have to do with custard-filled donuts?” I simply could not make the connection.
In that one unexpected moment I was introduced to the rest of my life.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9