My sister-in-law Noma wrote this and graciously allowed me to post it on my blog. This is one of those awesome, faith-promoting experiences that will be passed down through generations in our family (and other families as well since she has shared it with a ton of her Seminary students over the years). Every time I hear "Shamrock Shakes," my thoughts automatically think of the blessings of obedience and that the Lord really is aware of our needs and desires. Thanks for sharing Noma! You are a gifted writer and story-teller.
On occasion this time of year, teenagers tag me in pictures of them drinking Shamrock Shakes. It's time to share this Cody Seminary tradition with the FB world. Twenty-six years ago, Derrik and I were dirt poor newlywed college students, both completing our senior year at BYU, working, and barely surviving financially. We were sitting in church, and a lady stood up and gave a talk on tithing. She told a story about a person who was @ $56.32 short on rent, but she acted in faith and paid her tithing anyway. The next day she looked in the kitchen garbage and saw a white envelope. She opened it and found.... $56.32!! Did this story spark a little cynicism in me? Oh, yes. I leaned over to Derrik and mumbled, "We're poor, and we pay our tithing. Why don't I ever find money in the garbage?" (Not a proud moment.)
The next day was President's Day, so there were no classes. While Derrik was reading the newspaper (which must have been free, because we couldn't afford a subscription) I walked by and saw a 1/4 page color ad for Shamrock Shakes. I had never heard of them, and I was completely smitten and infatuated. I suggested to Derrik that we celebrate our holiday by going to McD's and getting a Shamrock Shake. He reminded me of the hard truth that we were poor college students and couldn't afford to run off to McDonald's on a whim. I knew he was right. So I sulked my way to the kitchen and started cleaning. As I went to take the garbage out, I grumbled, "Yeah, I pay my tithing and I can't even afford a Shamrock Shake. Why don't I ever find money in the kitchen garbage?"
Garbage in hand, I murmured my way outside to the apartment dumpster. As I threw the garbage into the dumpster, a movement by my foot caught my attention. I looked down, and I was standing on a $10 bill. I bent down and picked it up. It was a windy day. I looked up and down the street to see who might have lost it. No one was outside. At which point I lost all dignity as I ran into my apartment waving the $10 bill over my head, yelling, "Derrik, Shamrock Shakes! Shamrock Shakes!" We indeed got our Shamrock Shakes that afternoon (in addition to Big Macs and fries)!
This unconventional experience reinforced some great lessons. First, Heavenly Father is completely aware of the least of us down to the smallest details, and He cares. He knows us personally. And He hears our murmuring. (After the minty nirvana left my tongue, I was somewhat spiritually embarrassed by my behavior.) Next, we are blessed for obedience, even if our hearts need to make some progress. And finally, I know He has a sense of humor. Because I can only imagine how much fun it was arranging for me to stand on that $10 bill, knowing that hundreds of Seminary students would be subjected to the story at least annually.