I spent 2011 working on an icon of St. Nicholas, which I used for my Christmas card (and posted it here on my blogsite in December, to wish all of you a Merry Christmas). In February, a brand new Catholic gift/book store opened up in town (we had none), as a small shop inside and within a brand new St. Vincent dePaul’s thrift store. It is sporatically staffed by volunteers, including myself on occasion, and when nobody is there, the thrift store clerks graciously ring up items and keep track of it. I had several small items for sale in the store, and thinking it might be time to explore the possibility of seeking commissions, also made up a flyer to hand out. There was a securely locked cabinet, so I brought St. Nicholas over to display, clearly marked “Not For Sale”, to support the flyer information.
And to make a long story short, a mistake was made. Somebody unlocked the case, and sold the icon for $45. I was devastated when I arrived 8 days later for my volunteer shift, and saw that it was not there.
Fortunately, it was a credit card sale. We had a name. Contact was made with the woman who bought it. She said she understood and would return it. I was so happy.
Unfortunately, having gotten a whiff of the idea that it was actually quite valuable and worth more than what she paid for it, she reconsidered. She consulted an attorney and refused to return it.
Legally, she is on firm ground. Morally, well, that is another question. St. Vincent dePaul has offered to make it right with me, and we came to an agreement, but I am so very saddened. I will not pursue it further.
Maybe the image of St. Nicholas, who personifies generosity and compassion, needs to be with this woman a while. It’s a hard thing, this letting go and forgiving.