The Worth of a Teardrop

by | Jun 2, 1999 | Priorities, Treasure, Wealth

Exhaustion had taken its toll and there I stood with tears streaming down my cheeks, barely able to mouth the words to explain my despair. It was gone. A one hundred dollar bill I had stuffed into the kangaroo pocket of my pullover sweatshirt had fallen out and I could not locate it anywhere.

The month had started out as any typical December – full of exciting holiday plans and special celebrations for our daughter’s birthday and our wedding anniversary. We had just settled into the rhythm of the hustle and bustle of festivities when an unexpected phone call from my sister sent us into a new direction that would last the entire month. It was the first time I had heard from her in over 18 months and she was destitute: no money, no job, no food, and no place for her and her son to live. They were being evicted and had to be out in two days.

The call arrived on our anniversary, but as luck would have it, Michael had to work late, so we had made no plans for the evening. Even if we had, undoubtedly we’d have changed every plan in order to rescue her. To us, that is just what you do when someone is in need. Without hesitation, I loaded our four children into the van and within the hour was at my sister’s side listening to her plight and drying her tears. Although the details weren’t necessary for me to know in order to agree to help, she seemed to need to share, so we again piled into the van as she talked about the events that lead her to that moment in her life while my kids eagerly soaked in the chance to visit with their cousin. I just drove, listened, and began gathering forces and mapping out a plan.

With the help of many other family members and a lot of prayer, we managed to find places to store her furniture. We moved her and my nephew into my mother’s small home until we could find permanent housing. Then, as though miracles were limitless to us, within days of that first move we were able to again move them into affordable government subsidized housing and fill their cupboards with much- needed food. With Christmas just around the corner, we pooled the remainder of our resources to fill in for Santa and provide some holiday extras.

Our hearts were full! Not for what we had done, but for that sweet feeling of knowing you pushed yourself to the limit and did what the Lord called you to do. We had missed many of our favorite yuletide traditions like Christmas at the zoo, caroling, and even sending out Christmas cards, but the joy of the Christmas spirit was as strong as ever, perhaps even stronger!

Despite our deep feelings of joy, our finances had been stretched to the limit and we were down to making every dime count. We rationalized our benevolence with thoughts that if it made a difference and my sister could start over and make it this time, it would be worth it. There were no regrets. None. But, I was tired. Emotionally and physically I was wiped out, and it piqued with the loss of a hundred dollars that suddenly felt like one million missing dollars.

“I am sooo sorry. I have looked everywhere and I can’t find it!” I sobbed.

“Can’t find what?” Michael queried.

“The money! I had a hundred dollar bill and I can’t find it.” When I finally blurted the words, my body shook as the emotion that had built up over the course of fifteen or so days tumbled out along with my tears.

Michael sweetly reached out and pulled me into his arms and held me close.

“Oh, Hon, no amount of money is worth your tears!” He responded with gentle comfort.

I was taken aback by his response! I knew he meant it; I had not been worried about being chastised for my carelessness or for having put us in the position that one hundred dollars was such a major loss. My kind husband has silently endured nearly two decades of me rescuing the underdog and bending the family budget to its near breaking point to bail out those in need. To be perfectly honest, he’s as bad as I am, but he lets me take the credit for being the soft touch. What startled me was the realization of what I truly mean to this gentle man. In that simple phrase, I discovered just how well he knows me and understands my heart. I felt his deep compassion for me, his complete and unconditional love. I finally understood my value to him.

He stood and held me close until the tears stopped falling and peace reentered my weary heart. And with a gentle kiss we moved on from there, the money never spoken of again. It was a week before I finally found the neatly folded bill hidden among a stack of forgotten newspapers and magazines. It must have slipped out of my pocket and fallen deep into the basket.

I must admit I had anticipated feeling some sort of satisfaction or excitement over having recovered the missing money, but instead I just stared at it, grinning slightly and shaking my head at the over- importance I had placed on that one hundred dollars. Then, without fanfare of any kind, I calmly tucked it into the pocket of my jeans and went back to my cleaning.

As it turned out, I learned it really isn’t that much money anyway – in fact, it isn’t even enough to buy a teardrop!

Amanda Krug copyright October 2001

Amanda is a full-time mom and writer living in Indiana. She runs a business with her husband, Michael and has a story featured in the upcoming “Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul”. She is an award- winning writer for and her stories are shared in many web sites and anthologies.


The Worth of a Teardrop