“Fresh cart. Fresh cart.”, the Goodwill employee, muttered. Without a hint of excitement or drama in his voice he pushed the large 3 shelved metal cart, bulging and heaped with thrifty possibility, to a stand-still.
Clicking the stop latches, on the rolling casters, into place with the tip of his black shoe, he sauntered away with his head hanging. Oblivious to his demeanor, the Goodwill shoppers left behind thousands of thrift store items to rush to the “sirens call” of the “fresh cart”.
Like little fuzzy yellow baby chicks looking for the newest batch of starter feed, they lined up around the cart.
I can make a quick round through Goodwill in about 15 or 20 minutes…depending on “traffic” such as: running into a fellow thrifting friend, or the speed of the cashier and the impending line of people at the checkout.
It starts at the door. I do not get a cart. The wheels will squeak and slow me down. Plus, I’m just looking and I have my spending limits! So first I glance toward the sweaters, saunter through the ladies tops, quickly scan the formal dresses looking for rhinestones and buckles and lace or such that can be repurposed, glance at the shoes…size 9…high heels…not worn, stop and actually sort through the quilts and curtains, quickly scan the furniture and then I’m off to the aisles of shelves piled with metal, wood and glass, cast away treasures. That’s sorta how it goes. Quickly. Low budget. AND great friends made along the way.
But back to the “fresh cart”.
So the “baby shopping chicks” were gathered around the bulging cart hunting and pecking, sorting and discarding.
I couldn’t get near the cart, but that didn’t stop me from craning my neck and standing on tip-toe, from there in my place in the milk glass aisle in an attempt to see what I could see.
Suddenly I spied them. Immediately, I sensed that I wanted to crouch low and draw my fists and growl like a cheetah close on the scent of its prey,
“Y’all, don’t you dare touch those. They’re mine!”
*chuckling* just kidding about the crouching and growling part-totally out of my character (I think!)
The vintage metal sconces, were worn over and beat up and looked like they had served their last purpose YEARS ago, but to me they were beautiful.
It took all the sweet and kind patience I could dig deep inside and find to keep from stepping forward and with a polite, “excuse me” to the lady with her squeaky wheeled shopping cart, just gingerly reach around her and snatch them up…but I waited my turn…bless my heart.
Yes, bleeeesssss my little heart. I waited. Patiently. Sorta.
*heart skips a beat*
Suddenly the squeaky wheeled shopping cart lady moved away and I reached across and picked up the beautiful horrible chipped vintage metal sconces. I turned and moved away to make room for other shopping chicks who wanted a scratch at the “starter feed”. Glancing at the price, I was surprised to see that they were within range of the pocket change I carried and was willing to spend. Those beautiful babies were mine!
I headed to the checkout and heard their “metallic thwang” as I placed them on the counter.
The stout and muscular checkout boy who appeared to be about 21 with a shock of blond hair and scruffy goatee, said,
“Now those things right there are neat. They would really have some potential if you’d paint them up nice.
Yeah, they need a new coat of paint. But they really DO have some potential.”
“WHAAAAAT?” I hollered to the top of my lungs (inside my head). What in the everlasting world do you mean they REALLY have some potential?”, silently thinking, while nodding pleasantly and saying, “Uh hmmm, they do have potential, don’t they?”
I took my bright orange plastic bag of potential,
and politely walked myself right out of Goodwill.
But you know what?
Within seconds of hearing his comment,
I was deep in thought about those vintage metal sconces.
Yes, the ones that would really have some potential
they were just painted.
I thought they were beautiful just the way they were…
and I know some of you will think they are beautiful too.
I may even sell them in my shop when a bride comes for a fitting.
To me they are beautiful!
worn and twisted
waiting a new turn,
a new chance on life.
And that’s not terribly unlike you and me:
We tear ourselves down…
we lose sight of our potential and purpose
WE PLAY THESE MESSAGES IN OUR HEAD
say we aren’t skinny enough…
aren’t pretty enough…
We say we aren’t a good enough______
merchant…(merchant? what’s a merchant?)
the list goes on…
whatever our mind fills in the blank
to say we just aren’t good enough.
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOMEONE
WHO DOES IT ALL JUST A LITTLE BETTER THAN YOU
beautiful wonderfully and fearfully made
you are enough.
YOU ARE ENOUGH.
we all have a Redeemer.
We all have ONE who sees our potential,
among all the others that appear to be chipped and flawed
AND cast away too.
HE’S passionate about us.
HE sees our beauty.
HE sees our potential
and because of HIS grace.
We are enough!
When I am struggling with my purpose and self-worth,
I quote these words to change those messages
my mind is sending to my heart.
I hope you will find these words helpful also.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Psalm 139 (Old Testament~Holy Bible)
What difference does it make?
“What difference do I make?” you may be asking.
Everyone of us, living and breathing…has purpose.
So reach out.
If you are homeless, walk around the cement pillar of the bridge you are under
and find someone. Offer a kind word, or a smile and a handshake.
If you are flat on your back in a hospital bed, use your eyes and smile a thank you to your caregiver.
If you are all alone and in pain, find someone in more pain than you and reach out to them…make a group of two.
Shine your light.
Put the extra…in an ordinary day.