A Benjamin

I’ll bet you thought I was going to write about one of the sons of Jacob – in fact, his favorite son – Benjamin. But you’d be wrong – because tonight I have been thinking about another Benjamin – Ben Franklin. Why? Because his picture is the one on the US $100 bill, and whenever I think of 100 of anything, I think about a story involving my father and grandfather.

After my grandfather left the federal bench, as a referee in bankruptcy (they are called judges today) serving Chicago, IL and the surrounding region, he bought one of the old IBM Selectric typewriters that had been used in his chambers for the past several years. You know the kind – it had the little ball that spun around and typed the different letters as your fingers flew across the keyboard. And what was really neat was the fact that you could change the ball to a different font and it was the first time styling became popular on typewriters. Anyway, my Dad was just starting his own business and his old typewriter was wearing out, so he asked Grandpa if he could buy a used Selectric for me to work on.

After all, I was thirteen years old, just out of eighth grade, and my parents had bought me typing lessons as a graduation present so I could help Dad at the office after he went back to work each evening after dinner. I was his office secretary and typed his orders, acknowledgments, invoice and correspondence. I received $.25 per page and $.01 for an envelope. Eventually, when I was nearing college age, I was raised to $.40 per page and $.02 to type out an envelope. But that’s a different story – I did my Dad’s work all through high school and college – almost 8 years total.

I know that it sounds a little crazy to only get a penny for typing an address on an envelope, but sometimes Dad would write notes by hand and then he would ask me to type a number of envelopes so they would be ready when he needed them. And no labels – each one had to be done individually. So if he got caught on a phone call, and couldn’t dictate to me, I could always go back to making my time count by adding to the stack of pre-typed envelopes.

Anyway, Dad wanted to buy a typewriter, and Grandpa finally agreed to sell one – for a Benjamin. I had never heard the term before – and soon after, Dad handed Grandpa a crisp $100 bill and off we went with the typewriter. And so, for some reason, I re-live that story each time I think of 100 of anything – it represents a “Benjamin” to me. I loved the typewriter and thought about that crisp bill every time I sat down to type – for years.

So why am I thinking about 100 this evening? Because tonight marks my 100th post on TBTB. And boy, is it different than I thought it would be! Originally, I thought I would just write about career transition – and as you can tell, I have widened my horizons and now write about just about every sort of transition I can think of. My dear friend Jonathan Byrd used to say that he believed God would eventually nudge me to write a series of books of different types of life transitions – career, marriage, divorce, elder care decisions for families, and anything else that popped up in our society as a transition point worth probing and commenting on.

While that thought is still daunting to me, I am starting to think about it a little. I probably know the most about careers and marriage – and I may actually start a little booklet to post on the internet and see if anyone is interested in reading a guide on how to successfully make the transition from single to married – or unemployed to employed. I have been asked to do a little more speaking on those topics as well, so we will see how that goes.

In the meantime, the first 100 are finished, and that is exciting. I hope and pray that the last four months have been a blessing to you as they have been to me. I really enjoy writing to you each day, and I hope that you will continue to provide feedback to me. The verse tonight is an old, but good one. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” In other words, God already knows how this all turns out. And admittedly, I am a little curious, but a long time ago I realized that I was on a “need to know” basis with God; and some things I just don’t need to know!

So my encouragement tonight is to listen for God’s voice in your life. Be prepared to serve Him in such a way that honors Him. And my prayer is that you will recognize that God does not waste anything; and your whole life has been lived training for each successive assignment God charges you with. So what’s up next? I’ll bet it’s terrific, because God places us where He wants us to flourish; and where we have subject matter expertise. And don’t worry if it seems to hard – God never gives us an assignment without the resources to get it done. You can rest in that! Grace and Peace….

 
 
 
 

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