Spin Your Story : And Kindness Ruled the Day

Guest post by Susan M.


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And Kindness Ruled the Day

Today a very bad tax appointment evolved into a giddy gratitude high.

I’ll start by saying that my husband and I are financial morons. We are completely out to lunch financially. Smoke a lot of pot and you make a lot of bad financial decisions. That said, when tax time comes around we get excited about our refund and more than a little money drunk. We expected a refund again this year but it wasn’t in the cards.

We go to H and R Block every year. It’s close, convenient, and we aren’t picky as long as we get a couple thousand bucks back each year. So we arrive and the tax man is delightful, funny, and nice to our daughter. He goes to find our last year’s records but they are nowhere to be found. Not in the system, not anywhere. He keeps asking, “Are you sure you had your taxes done here last year?” “Yes, yes, yes”, we keep answering.

Next the tax man said: “I think you have your sweater on inside out.” I reply.”No, it’s just like this.” He looks curious and says, “Then why is the tag showing in the back?” I stand up, look at my sweater and say, “Oh yea, I do this all the time.” I’m sure he won’t believe a thing I say now.

So he goes ahead and enters all our numbers asking about IRAs and cafeteria plans. Here is how the conversation went: “Whose name was first on the return?” “Um, don’t know.” “Did you itemize your deductions?” “Um, don’t know.” “Was this money taken out pre-tax?” “I think it was that deferral plan thingy.” And so forth. In the end he says we owe money this year.

OWE? How can that be? Not much has changed in our financial status, so we decide to look at last year’s tax return and compare. I say: “I’ll run home and get the hard copy and be right back”. Go home, search high and low for hard copy, can’t find it. I find every other fucking tax year (in the laundry room). I’m really cranky at this point and swearing at my husband, furious with H and R block, embarrassed I don’t have a better organizational system.

Eventually I find it, we drive back. In the car I look again and see it actually is not the right year. Uggggg…… While waiting for the tax man in the lobby we see all the signs for various discounts on the wall. When he meets us I say: “We’d like the discount for the financially inept.” He laughs. We laugh. Energy has shifted and from then on we are all punch-drunk silly. We sit down; explain we couldn’t find the return. Giggles ensue.

So, happy tax man returns to searching the database for the records, all the other tax people in the office saying, “never seen this happen before in all my years of doing taxes.” Heads are scratched, other offices are called, multiple computers are used – they even search the e-file records to no avail. All our records have disappeared into a Financial Bermuda Triangle.

At this point I am starting to question my sanity. Finally I say out loud. “Am I crazy? I know we came here last year. I remember you opened late that day and we had to wait outside.” Tax man is saying he believes us, he believes us. In the end we DO end up owing taxes because of many reasons I won’t go into.

He is, ironically, able to give us the 25 dollar New User Discount because “we didn’t use H and R Block” last year. Then he asks if we would like to buy the Peace of Mind Protection Plan (which we bought last year) and we all burst out laughing. When filling out the section to remember us for next year’s appointment he writes – Clients whose records got lost in the Twilight Zone. He tells us he wants us to come back next year to see him because our tax appointment was so much fun.

Finally, when we leave I tell him “Thanks for nothing”. I get a big grin.

Walking to the car, I say to my husband, “I’m glad he didn’t ask us why we adopted because the answer would have been: we forgot to have kids.” (Which is sort of true but a whole other story.) At this point, driving the car is dangerous because we are both laughing so hard.

This is when we both feel the peace of true wealth.

True wealth was that moment, laughing, out 2 thousand bucks – and not caring. We let that money go so fast it makes my head spin. And we did need that money. But we recognized how amazing it was that we rebounded so fast with grace and perspective. The sky blue, children selling Girl Scout cookies on the side walk, low riders booming, giving the street some life. Us: together, safe, happy, grateful. What a holy awakening.

Maybe the tax guy was inept; maybe we should get someone else to do our taxes. But: Nope. I like that guy. I like the easy joy he had, the infectious grace -easily worth the money. He might be an Angel or a Bodhisattva. Or a Financial Moron.

I am reminded of this poem by Hafiz.

I Knew We Would be Friends

As soon as you opened your mouth
And I heard your soft
Sounds.

I knew we would be
Friends.

The first time, dear pilgrim, I heard
You laugh.

I knew it would not take me long
To turn you back into
God.

Not only did my husband, the tax man, and I, refuse to get ugly and adversarial, as Hafiz says, we turned each other into God. We coaxed the holiness in us to come to light. Divine laughter couldn’t be stopped. We inspired everyone in that office. We turned the very particles of air into kindness, each cell of our bodies into generosity.

I already feel like I’ve been doubly repaid the money I lost.

How I lived today is how I want to live every day, letting Kindness trump everything, letting Kindness guide my every breath, spinning all of the world’s pain into Joy.

I am a 47 year old Kindness Junkie. Oh, I also happen to be in recovery. I write at Writing My Way Sober.

(If you’d like to Spin Your Story get the specs here, I’d love to have you!)

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