Monday, January 16, 2012

It's All How Ya Look at It

"Vision is the art of seeing things invisible to others." ~Jonathan Swift

This past Saturday my husband and I embarked on a garage sale scavenger hunt. We thought this would be a fun way to spend time together and hunt for hidden treasures. We were on a mission to find old furniture that we could refurbish and sell. Adam has a natural proclivity for working with his hands, and blood that flows with creative craftsmanship. His grandfather taught woodshop at the local high school in Arizona, and his dad owns a painting and renovation company.

We woke up early, full of giddy anticipation of what we might discover. Our first stop was on a road just a few miles away from where I grew up. We were welcomed by a traditional style garage sale with items spilling from the garage into the driveway. At first it seemed as though none of the items interested us. My eyes quickly scanned shelves of old baby clothes, maternity clothes, and other random knickknacks. In the corner of my eye I spotted Adam studying an old wooden headboard for a bedroom. The accompanying foot board was altogether missing, and the ornamental finials that screw on the top were also unaccounted for. The attached green sticker read, $5.

I thought, "Why on earth is Adam even looking at this tired old piece?" Cognizant of Adam's interest in the headboard, the man hosting the garage sale explained to us that he buys foreclosed homes, and sells the abandoned furniture. Noticing Adam's interest in the piece he said, "Man, you can just have this one for free. I really just want it off my property."

Adam filled me on on what I could not envision. The two arms of the headboard had beautiful exaggerated curves and were composed of solid wood. "I can make two lamps from this, " he announced.

Suddenly, I saw the discarded headboard in a whole new light (no pun intended...). I felt like we had won the jackpot.

Adam's dad let us borrow his truck to deliver our treasure safely home. We were off to our next stop. Adam knew exactly where this one was located because it was next door to the house he grew up in. This garage sale was larger, but contained similar items from the first--boxes of old clothes and various household appliances. I was about to give up hope until I spotted two bookshelves packed with books. A lot of them were recent titles or famous authors. I spotted two John Grishams and one Frank Peretti. I thought, "three books for three bucks...not bad."

We got out our money to pay the lady and she said, "It will just be a dollar for all three." Again I was struck by the favor that we had experienced.

After another successful find, we headed to Hoover for our last two stops. We pulled into a townhouse subdivision. It was almost lunch time and this particular garage sale was winding down and picked over. A few Christmas ornaments and mugs...not much to speak of. A second time, I walked around the same semi-circle of items, making sure I didn't miss anything. I found the treasure that made it all worthwhile...bamboo shades with a price tag of $1. The lady explained that they were so cheap because they were missing the mounting hardware. We bought the shades with the vision of using it as future repurposing material. I could make bamboo-wrapped candles or perhaps some other craft.

We were headed for our last stop, an estate sale in Hoover. We entered an upscale neighborhood with two long lines of parked cars flanking the road. It was organized through a professional estate service, so the items were previously appraised in order for the client to yield top dollar. Most of the items were classic collectibles that exceeded our price range, including Chippendale chairs and an antique French clock set. After not finding much downstairs, we trudged up the stairs to have one final look before we concluded our adventure.

In a bedroom off to the side, we found a beautiful bedside chest. It was painted cream with ornate carvings on each drawer. I was pleasantly surprised that it was marked $60. In exuberance, I called for Adam to come look at it.

"What a perfect piece! This is just what we were looking for!" I cheerfully exclaimed. Adam and I determined to go downstairs and make an offer. After describing the piece, the estate sale brokers accepted our offer. We triumphantly headed back upstairs to claim our piece. Much to our dismay, The price tag that rested atop the bedroom chest was missing. My mind flashed back to a woman that quickly scurried over to the piece after I had gushed over it. We headed back down the stairs, to have our theory confirmed. The woman had quietly grabbed the price tag and bought the bedroom chest from another checkout person while we were making an offer.

We headed back to the car, empty-handed. We started to feel disappointed and even a little wronged. Then, we remembered all the grace and favor we had experienced earlier. We decided to not let an isolated disappointment detract from the plethora of blessings we experienced earlier. We thanked God for all that He did for us, and our emotions quickly came back into balance. It was, after all, a very good day.

Psalm 103:2 "Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things He does for me."


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