This is definitely not my favourite time of the year: tax season. Today, I’m battling discouragement with not having enough money to pay bills. I’m asking Papa to encourage and bless me in some way.
As I turn on to King George Boulevard, I pass by the Liberty Tax Office. My eye catches a red, Canadian maple leaf waving frantically at me. I wonder what a dreadful job this must be. Who could endure this unacknowledged, meaningless job – a maple leaf mascot dancing on Surrey’s sidewalks – ignored by the passing majority?
How many preoccupied motorists have passed by, oblivious to the heart beating behind the mask? I resolve to bless this maple leaf by smiling and waving back wildly as I travelled by.
My smile lingered several blocks down the road as I pulled into my office parking lot. Suddenly, a red blotch appeared in my rear-view mirror, pointed directly at me. I panicked for a second until I realized it was the maple leaf mascot. Curious, I opened the door to an enthusiastic voice asking, “Mac, how are you? It’s me!” as it advanced closer with every bounce into my personal space. I wasn’t thrilled.
I looked around to see if anyone was witnessing this interaction. After all, I’m in Whalley-World. Anything and everything happens here. I strained to peer beyond the mesh opening of the maple leaf’s watermelon-sized mouth to catch a glimpse of the face inside. No such luck. A mystery.
It speaks again, “It’s me. Don’t you remember me?” disappointment escalating with each syllable.
How would I know a person in a red maple leaf suit, I ask myself.
“I’m reading your book ‘The Shift’. It was a Christmas present. I love it!” the voice declared. Intrigued, I leaned in to see a joyful face beaming back at me. “It’s Shane. Remember me?”
I do remember Shane. He used to be homeless, struggling with drug addiction. Now clean and sober, he was carving out a meager income working as a mascot between jobs to pay the bills. He was happy and grateful to be working – even as a red maple leaf. I was humbled and blessed at the same time.
My heart soared. What a joy to see him free from the chains that had kept him bound for many years. Never in my wildest dreams did I think God would use a dancing maple leaf to bless me. Nor, in my wildest dreams did I think the book would bless a man in a red maple leaf suit. Blessings really do come in different packages.
Do I sense Papa and a few angels dancing with my friend! Oh happy day!