God teaches John a Lesson

God teaches John a Lesson

This is really a story about when I quit smoking, but there was an unexpected twist to the story that I hadn’t foreseen.

I started smoking when I was about 16. Like a lot of boys and some girls of that age, it was mostly experimenting with things our parents told us not to do! Anyway, I probably didn’t become an habitual smoker until I was 18 or so, but I then continued for quite some time.

Phillies

My grandfather, Powie {I’ll explain that name in some other story, but that’s what we called him}, had a cigar distribution company which has belonged to his father. Layton Cigar Co. delivered cigars over a tri-county area for Bayuk Cigars who made Phillies and Webster brand cigars, both of which were very popular locally. 

Webster

Anyway, I worked for him in the summer of 1962 when I was 18 and developed a taste for Webster Queens a fairly high priced cigar (probably a quarter apiece in those days when a good cigar was a dime). I also had developed a taste for Kools mentholated cigarettes and that is what I mainly smoked.

During college and even after, to save money, I rolled my own using a mentholated tobacco sold by Sears (believe it or not) and had a machine that could roll 5 non-filtered or 4 filtered cigarettes at a time. I also could roll them by hand, using a strip of cloth and a pencil.

Let’s fast forward to 1977 to right after our daughter, Danielle, was born. By this time, I had been smoking for 17-18 years and like many had quit at least a dozen times, none of which lasted more than 3-4 days (if that). Geri had decided to quit in November of 1977 and I decided not to smoke in the house to reduce her temptation. On the Sunday just before Thanksgiving, I was standing out front by the mailbox, smoking a cigarette when I prayed to God that if He would help me, I would quit then and there. Instantly, I knew I would be successful and put out the cigarette I was smoking. I went into the house and crushed the nine packs in the carton I had just bought as well as the 19 cigarettes in the pack in my pocket (oh yeah, it was a brand new carton of 200 cigarettes of which I had smoked half of one). I don’t believe that smoking is a sin, but I’m pretty sure God would rather we didn’t let anything get hold of us and He proved that to me.

Therefore, God was good to His part of the bargain and, though He doesn’t always make it as easy as He did for me, I lost the urge to smoke pretty quickly.

Okay, okay, where does the lesson come in? Well, about two years later, by which time, I really didn’t think of myself as having ever smoked; a colleague who had quit using hypnotism and nicotine substitutes was chatting with me. He said; “John, I think it is amazing that you just quit cold turkey with no other help”. My reply was; “It just takes strong will power and modification of habit patterns.” Notice that God’s help was not even mentioned or acknowledged - this is important to understand the title of this piece.

United States one dollar bill obverse

Several hours later, nearing quitting time, one of the other workers came up to me and asked it he could borrow a dollar since he had to work late and wanted to use it in the snack machine. It told him sure and opened my wallet to discover exactly one dollar. He didn’t want to take my last dollar, but I assured him it was okay, besides, he could repay me the next day, so he took it.

A little later, I started for home (about a 40 minute drive), 10 minutes into the ride home, I had an over powering urge to have a cigarette. Remember, this is two years after quitting. The urge was so powerful, that I pulled into a 7-11, went up to the counter, ordered a pack of Kools and pulled out my wallet to pay for them. Remember my last dollar? As soon as I saw that I had no money, I told the clerk never mind, I told God, “okay I get it!” and the urge went away!.

So, I have never forgotten to give God the credit for His protection from temptation. Satan has tried other ways - mainly in dreams or in cigars offered to me - to get me back to smoking, but the lesson is learned.

Davdan @ 2008-2018