I don’t know if this is going to come across as a philosophical, getting-it-all together, cleansing post, or what.
So, our life, in the form of all of the things we own, was just plastered across our driveway over the weekend. We hosted a yard sale, one unlike any we have ever held. As a family, we worked hard to get all of things that have been held captive behind the walls of our home, out to the garage and driveway area so that the eyes of our neighborhood, and beyond, could behold all our stuff. Truly a sight to see. Unfortunately, I was so busy wandering back and forth in between the maze of our belongings, that I forgot to snap a few photos, so I could lock in the memory of what, at one time, I thought I could not live without.
It was quite a process to sift through, what would make it to African soil and what we could leave behind on our everyday sod. The weeks leading up to the mega-purge had me posting items online, selling at book fairs, and begging friends, relatives, and perfectly normal strangers to come by and have a look at the things that they might like to confiscate as their own.
Yard sale day arrived and the motto that we stated boldly was, “Whatever it takes to make our stuff, your stuff!” It sounded pretty good until folks actually took us up on that offer.
“Would you take $2.00 for this?” Stunned, I responded with, “Well, the price is already half off the marked sticker”…”Yeah, I know. Would you take $2.00 for this?” These words were uttered from a well-meaning lady who stood gripping my kid’s toy, just above her large basket filled to the brim with a number of their other toys. I did my usual head tilt and contemplated briefly whether or not I wanted to lose this sale over $0.50 and said in a choked whisper, “Sure.”
On the other side of the coin, a gal I had met one time at my previous employer’s business, came by on the first day of the sale and struck up a conversation with my husband which led to the discovery that I had been her server back in March….one evening, one conversation, one moment shared…and she remembered me along with a piece of my story. She was our cheerleader throughout the weekend, making signs to post around town, bringing her own items (and tables) to sell items to raise money so that we can get to Africa. She gave up her valuable time, asking nothing in return.
Several tender moments were revealed in the flurry of transactions…our dining room table carpet impressions being stared at longingly by our son….surely remembering all of the meals that our family had shared together and realizing that this room’s purpose had been removed with the furniture that now stood on our front lawn. Or him running into my arms after the picture, that had always hung in his room, made its way into its new owners car. Or the evening I spent removing photos from picture frames because the weight would be too much for our luggage to bear. Or right now, sitting here in my shell of a living room, with naked walls peering down at me as I lounge on the floor.
By the third day, our earthly treasures had been sifted through by family, friends, and Larry the junk collector. What was left behind was a remnant of who we once were as defined by our possessions. We concluded by packing the remaining things into bags and boxes and did the only thing that we could; we gave the rest away.
We have about 15 bins left of our earthly treasures compiled of moments, memories, and masterpieces crafted from crayon. May we not be too eager to fill our pockets all over again, (yes, we have already been tempted) but rather be slow and thoughtful about what we surround ourselves with and thankful for every little bit that comes our way.