The Parable of the Giver
by Marie Grossett
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It was an autumn Monday August in Montreal Canada.
Twenty five year old Annabelle Diaz and twenty eight year old Christina Henry breezed out of the glass cube shaped building of Richards Accountancy Firm; liking arms both had exciting news to express to each other.
“You go first,” olive skinned Annabelle said.
“Well I did a presentation for one of our biggest potential client Techno IT and I just secured a contract with them, now I will be doing their accounts plus I got awarded a five thousand dollar bonus.” Hazel eyed Christina replied.
“I can’t believe it. I still have to pinch myself to make sure that I am not dreaming....what’s your news?”
“Pretty much the same as yours, accept I will be doing the accounts of Colin publishing.”
“Wow that is one of the largest publishing companies in Canada...how much of a bonus did you get for that?”
“It doesn't matter,”
“Come on Annabelle we’re best friends remember we don’t hide things from each other.”
“If you must know I got five thousand more than you.”
“What! How comes you got more than me?” Brown skinned Christina replied.
“As I said it doesn't matter about the bonus come on let’s get some lunch.”
They headed to The Montreal Eaton Centre mall; both wearing rounded black painted heels, and pencil skirt. Annabelle had on a white shirt and Christina wore a brown top.
They had met at Harvard Business School in Boston Massachusetts. Annabelle was born in Brooklyn New York to Latino parents Carolos and Abigail Diaz; she had a wonderful childhood and close relationship with her parents and younger sister Gabriella. Her father was a lecturer and mother was a primary school teacher but she didn't want to go down the teaching path.
Whereas as African American Christina lived an opposite life to Annabelle she was born in Utah and was brought up by just her mother Vera Henry as her father died after she was born. She wasn’t close to her mother as she worked three supervisory cleaning jobs so it was down to her aunt to bring her up. Christina was determined not to work three jobs as her mother; she wanted to work one job making loads of money and to make a success of her life.
Her and Annabelle instantly clicked at their sales and marketing class. However though they enjoyed learning about business they both realised that finance was their strongest area and drop out on their second semester.
Annabelle got accepted as an intern at Richards Accountancy Firm in Montreal Canada she applied for this job via their website. Christina decided to follow and they rented out a small squared cream coloured apart at 60 Rue Prince Arthur.
On her second day at work Annabelle boldly asked her manager Kevin Davis if her friend could also work as an intern at the firm. Kevin was in his early thirties he was tall slim built had green eyes and gel threadlike brown strands. He secretly like Annabelle and said to her, “Just for you I give her a go.”
Kevin was a born again Christian he knew Annabelle wasn’t as every time he would ask her what she was doing at the weekends she would mention clubbing or wine bars.
It was a Saturday in the year 2005 when he asked her to come to a gospel concert where the church he went to called Thy Kingdom Come was participating in. Annabelle really enjoyed herself at this concert she felt a peaceful joyful presence that she has not felt before. She began attending church with him and a year after she committed her life to the Lord and became a born again Christian. Though Kevin liked her he knew deep down she wasn’t the person that the Lord lead her to marry but they remained good friends, with his help her and Christina got promoted to Senior Accountant within three years at the company.
“I’m going to cut my hair into a bob, get gold highlights oh and I need more Jimmy Choo shoes”. Christina nattered on.
“You’ve got enough shoes.” Annabelle responded.
“A girl can never have enough shoes....and I am going to get Chanel perfume, handbags I cannot wait to receive the five thousand dollars just to spend, spend, and spend.” She paused then said, “What are you going to do with your money?”
“I going to give some to my church and to another ministry I’m not sure what ministry yet I have to do some research but I know the Lord will lead me to one.”
“Are you kidding me? You’re going to waste all that money on a ministry you don’t know about.”
“It’s not a waste there is so much joy in giving to others.”
“You will have a lot more fun spending it on yourself.”
As they entered the marble floor mall on the right hand side they noticed a crowd by a stall Annabelle wanted to investigate so she dragged Christina along.
While they were waiting to find out what was going on there was a lady in her fifties who noticed Christina’s expensive taste.
“Hello I’m Rosemary.” The paler skinned lady said as she stretched out her hand.
“I’m Christina,” she said wearily and shook Rosemary’s gentle hand.
“That’s a nice outfit you’re wearing.”
“Thanks its Armani.” Christina proudly replied.
“It’s good a lady with your stature would want to donate to this wonderful organisation.”
“Oh no I’m not donating it’s my friend maybe...”
“What is this organisation,” Annabelle interrupted.
“Their called Wellspring International they financially help other organisations aiding women and children who are at risk for example it could be with healthcare or education, children who are made as sex slave etc. It’s an absolutely wonderful ministry.”
“Oh thank God I’ve been wanting to donate to a ministry I believe God has lead me to this one.”
They finally saw a young African American gentlemen Annabelle was questioning him more about the organisation when she was happy with his answer she decided to donate there and then.
“Can I interest you in our organisation.” The gentlemen said to Christina.
“No,” she said abruptly, “Come on Annabelle lets go for lunch.”
She dragged her by the arm and they went to their favourite Mexican restaurant they were seated at the centre of the room.
“You were very abrupt to that man all he asked if he could interest you in the organisation.”
“Yeah well he shouldn’t have asked me that question.”
“Maybe you should try it sometime.”
“To give there is such a joy in it; the world is not just about you it’s about others Wellspring International are a perfect example of giving to others.”
“I worked hard for my money why should I give it away to some stranger I don’t even know.”
“Annabelle I don’t want to conversant about this anymore let’s just order our nachos and get back to work.”
It was 10:00pm after a successful day Christina slipped on her purple silk nightdress. She laid on her white duvet and her eyelids closed.
B-r-r-r-ingggg “It’s 6:30 already it seems like I have never slept,” Christina thought.
She dragged herself off the white duvet had her shower and put on her figure hugging sky blue dress with a matching cardigan. She wore her usual rounded black painted heels brushed her bob and spread on her dark red lipstick.
She entered the spacious grey coloured kitchen in the penthouse they rented in Saint Jacques Street she saw Annabelle sitting on the high stool by the counter munching on her cornflakes.
“I have to leave before you today,” she said.
“I have something important to do.”
She washed her green bowl swung the black straps on her shoulder,
“Goodbye.” Annabelle said.
“Bye,” Christina replied amazed, “that’s not like Annabelle to hide secrets from me oh well,”
After she crunched on her peanut butter toast she hung her black straps over her shoulder and headed off to work.
Christina didn’t get a chance to settle in when she was summoned by her manager.
She knocks on the Mahoney wood that stood between her and the manager.
“Come in,” a rosy cheeked overweight Joan Phillips said.
“You wanted to see me?”
“Ah yes take a seat,” Joan responded while wiping the sugar off her pink lipstick, “like a doughnut?”
“No thanks,” Christina answered,
“Well there’s no easy way of saying this so I will just get straight to the point we’re losing clients, losing clients means that we’re losing money, which means we have to make cut backs....we are making you redundant.”
“What! But I’ve worked hard I’ve got this company some of the biggest clients I...”
“We’re grateful for that but we have to save money, we have to do what we have to do. So you can work up until October or leave now.”
Christina was silent for approximately five minutes contemplating on what she heard.
“I thought we got on, I thought you liked me.”
“It’s nothing personal Christina just business...if you want I can put in a recommendation for you at another accountancy firm owed by my friend she is looking for a junior accountant.”
“Junior,” Christina repeated, “I worked hard to get to senior there is no way I’m downgrading to junior...after that insult I’ll leave now.”
She stomped out of the cube glassed shaped building and went to The Montreal Eaton Centre. She held back the water that was welling in her eyes. She called Annabelle but had no success in reaching her, “I’ll go on a shopping spree to cheer myself up.” She decided.
On her right hand side she saw a crowd by a stall, “Maybe there is a sale going on,” she thought “I’ll go and check it out.”
To Christina’s disappointment it wasn’t a clothes or jewellery stand it was Wellspring International, she caught the attention of the same African American man that she was abrupt with when she was there with Annabelle.
“Could I interest you in our organisation?”
“You’ve asked me that question before and the answer is still the same, I am not interest nor will I ever be. I’ve just lost my job and you want my hard earned money from me there are people that need help closer to home.” She shouted.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to upset you.”
“Well you did...you,” water flowed down her face.
“Here let me take you for a coffee.”
The gentlemen told his colleague that he was going for an early lunch he gently stepped with her to Costa coffee and order two cappuccinos with creamed carrot cake. They climbed up to the first floor and seated beside the window at the back of the room.
“My name is Jonas and you are?”
“Christina,” she answered while wiping the water from her face with a handkerchief she began to regain her posture. “I’m sorry about my outburst earlier.”
Christina’s lips spread across her face raising her cheekbone.
“What,” Jonas said.
“Has anyone ever told you that you look like Denzel Washington?”
“Lots of times,” he chuckled, “Maybe that is why they have me at the mall promoting.”
“Do you enjoy working for Wellspring International?”
“Absolutely, I use to be a high flier like you I had a fantastic job as a senior lawyer earned loads of money lived the playboy life then I lost it all. Just like you I got made redundant I became depressed. My so called friends disappeared; it’s amazing when you’re in trouble you find out who your true friends are.”
“Tell me about it,” Christina replied.
“Anyway one of my previous clients happened to be a born again Christian they found out what happened to me when they rang the office and they happened to have kept my number. They invite me to church as soon as I entered the building I felt at home I instantly knew this is where I belonged I had such peace it was like nothing else mattered. I knew there and then I needed to take a different path of living. After I became a Christian I wanted to get involved in an organisation that helped others who were less fortunate than me and I was introduced to Wellspring International by a church member. I immediately liked what they were doing to help other organisations I became involved and no turning back. I work with such a wonderful group of people and I get so much satisfaction with helping others. My life has real purpose.”
“You sound and look happy.”
“I am and you can have this happiness. Life is not just about money; money is a tool it’s what you do with your life that is important, it’s the legacy you leave behind.”
“I’ve always been taught to work and play hard. My mum had three jobs I never knew my dad he died after I was born. Apart from paying the bills she used to spend a lot of it on herself. She had new clothes and shoes every week. I had to beg her for stuff that I needed. I vowed that I would never ask anyone for money and buy my own things. I never thought about others but maybe it’s time that I should.”
“These are the details to our website
They shook hands and Jonas went back to work.
Christina had positive happy feelings for once and slugged back home. As soon as she arrive she pulled out her pink covered Dell laptop and went on the Wellspring International website she plucked up the courage to get involved and text Jonas to let him know that she would donate. After sending the text for the first time in her life Christina had a joy that she never felt before finally she had some purpose...........
Thud, thud, thud, “Christina, Christina,” Annabelle shouted.
She slumbered out of the soft mattress dragging her feet on the wooden floor, “What,” she answered with her croaky voice.
“Its 8:30 you’re going to be late for work.”
“Work...I got made redundant remember.”
“Christina nobody is going to be made redundant the company profits have gone up by thirty per cent, which is why we’re getting large bonuses for each major client we secure. Remember you got five thousand dollars.”
Christina was baffled.
“You must have been dreaming, I’m going to head off there is no use in both of us being late I will let Joan know you’re on your way.”
Christina couldn’t believe it and let out a huge chuckle.
After her shower she wore the figure hugging sky blue dress, and matching cardigan with her round black painted heels. She brushed her bob and spread on her dark red lipstick. She decided not to have her usual peanut butter toast instead she rushed straight to The Montreal Eaton Centre mall to see if the Wellspring International stall was there and to her delight it was. She was even more delighted to see her Denzel Washington lookalike.
“Hi I'm Jonas can I interest you in our organisation?”
“Yes you can...did you by any chance take me out for coffee the other day.”
“Coffee” Jonas said stunned, “You must have me confused with someone else.”
“Oh...ah yes I did sorry.” Christina embarrassingly answered.
Jonas discussed about Wellspring International.
“I would like to donate five thousand pounds and get involved somehow.”
“Wow that’s excellent here’s the direct debit details form and just leave your personal details we are always looking for volunteers.”
Christina gladly scribbled her details there and then, she was about to leave when he said.
“I wouldn’t mind taking you out for that coffee, here’s my card.”
She smirked while taking his details.
Three years later Christina Henry became Mrs. Jonas Parks, she became a born again Christian and continues to be involved with Wellspring International. Her life was never the same selfish life she had, she was now living to give and she loved it.
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