As far as sweaters go, I bought it because it was cheap, white and comfy. During my stay in Tennessee, I needed something nondescript to add to my limited travel wardrobe, and this little number in Walmart fit the bill. I checked it out with my other purchases and headed “home,” which was about 20 minutes away.

When I first put it on, I noticed there were no tags to cut off. Strange, I thought. I looked at my receipt and noticed there was no sweater on the receipt, even though I saw the clerk run it through the scanner.

I had gotten a sweater for nothing, and it wasn’t my fault! You’d think I’d do a victory dance or something.

Holy Spirit Downer

Why did I feel guilty? I wasn’t the clerk who hadn’t paid attention to the job at hand. Doesn’t the store have an obligation to train and supervise its employees? Or make sure its scanners work?

But that small inner voice grew louder. I should return it to the store and pay for it. Wouldn’t I look crazy, begging to pay for something that I had purchased in good faith? Not my problem. It’s the store’s. Besides, Walmart was a trek away. No, clearly, I’m in the right here and have no obligation to travel Route 40 all the way to Walmart. But every time I looked at that darn thing, I needed to recite my justifications again and again.

By now, the Holy Spirit wasn’t whispering. He was kicking butt, and I dreaded wearing the darn thing. A stupid, cheap sweater!

So I surrendered.

Not Crazy at All

The clerk at the help desk didn’t bat an eye when I explained what happened. He didn’t look at me like I had two heads. Since that sweater was no longer on the rack, he checked inventory and charged me $4 and change, which was probably Walmart’s cost in the beginning. So I got a sweater deal after all, but most of all, I now love wearing that sweater. It makes me happy.

Apparently, following the Holy Spirit, no matter how strange or illogical it may seem, is best. For all I know, maybe the clerk didn’t think I was crazy and maybe what I did served a purpose I’ll never know about.

So that’s one of many Tennessee memories I’m enjoying while recovering from a total knee replacement. Nothing like coming home after three months in the Volunteer State, resettling in, preparing for and having surgery, to put a damper on writing for a while.

But I just had to share the lesson I learned with y’all.