It’s an impressive building, as banks go. Seventy-seven stories high, painted a blinding white with reflective glass. The doors are at least nine feet tall and lead into a marble and ivory lobby with dozens of beige marble pillars that seem to reach heaven itself. Perhaps the most impressive feature is the reflection pond outside. It’s as wide as the building, eighteen inches deep and filled with black water that never seems to move. It’s as still as a mirror and silent as the grave.
Not your typical community bank, in more ways than one, yet at the same time it ends up being the very essence of what community should be.
Even though my workplace may seem intimidating to some, I’m actually there to help people. I do my best to make sure all my clients understand their current status. Then it’s up to them if they choose to make the necessary decisions and adjustments. Yes, it can be depressing at times, but what job isn’t?
Fourteen minutes after nine my first appointment saunters across the lush beige carpet and sits down with a flair of attitude often prevalent of well-to-do clients, especially ones in their early twenties.
After the transparent introductions are finished, Mr. Bobby Winthrop sits back further in his chair and begins.
“Yeah, I’d like to see my balance.”
“For what purpose?”
“What does it matter why? I want my balance.”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Winthrop, but you’re only allowed to check that information a limited number of times. Part of my job is to make sure you don’t waste those opportunities and,” I pause to get his full attention, “to make sure the information is used properly.”
Either the look in my eyes or the tone of my voice hits home because his demeanor changes. He seems younger by the second.
“I’m engaged. I want to make sure…”
Puzzled, I wait patiently. I watch as this formally cocky kid continues to change before my eyes. I try to help.
“You want to make sure you can provide for her?”
Surprisingly, he looks me straight in the eye.
“In what way?”
Furrowing his brow and narrowing his green eyes, “What do you mean?”
“Come now, Mr. Winthrop. We both know you can provide for her financially quite easily. So why are you really here? You want your true balance, don’t you?”
He runs a hand through his jet-black hair and places both elbows on my oak desk.
“I don’t want to know, because I know it’s bad. I need to, but I’m afraid…”
I have a hard time not smirking at this point. This kid is truly in love, but it’s not enough. Is Bobby ready to know? Is he willing to make a change for Him and for her? I’m unsure. It’s time to find out.
“Bobby, your time is almost up. Do you want to know or not?”
My stern voice brings back his youthful anger a bit.
“So, now you’ll tell me?”
“Yes, but first tell me why you’re afraid.”
With a grunt of frustration, he throws both his hands through his hair, stands, then paces in front of me.
“Brooke is better than me, okay, at everything. She’s kind, she’s patient, she loves kids, kids love her, hell, everyone loves her. I’m not any of that. I need to know if I can be. Can my soul equal hers?”
His voice is barely audible now.
“Or will I just drag her down to my level?”
Bobby sits down, puts his arms back on my desk, but this time places his head upon them.
I’m touched. But, the decision is not mine. I wait until his head finally rises and our eyes again meet.
“Honestly, Bobby, when you came in here, your balance was in the red. Heavily, in fact. Your selfish deeds and behavior had rapidly depleted your account. But, your honesty today, your heartfelt regret and your fear of God has changed things for you and Brooke.”
His eyes begin to widen and I feel his burdened soul begin to lighten.
“Don’t get ahead of yourself here, Mr. Winthrop. Your account has increased dramatically during this visit, but that is easy to do in this place. The question is Bobby, what will you do in the real world? Will you return to your comfortable past and damaged soul, or will you join Brooke, help her do God’s work and increase your soul’s balance? The choice is yours…”
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