[Be sure to read Living with Open Hands – Part 1.]
As an early Christmas gift, Russ got me some Christmas Tree dinner plates, then on Christmas morning, he gave me two mugs which we drank our coffee from every day until New Year’s Eve. Our table was festive every single night of the Christmas season and this gave me joy – lots of it. After Christmas I watched the sales, and they were amazing, but I knew that more dishes were a luxury I didn’t need, and I could wait to slowly collect them. However, I couldn’t resist a quick peek on Craigslist where I found an ad for three serving bowls and some mugs. I messaged the woman, we agreed on an amazing price, and set up a time for my older boys to pick them up on a trip to the Spokane airport.
We exchanged some texts and she wrote this, “I want to tell you something that is going to probably sound awkward to you. But anyway, I’m 40 and my grandmother bought me all of these dishes about 18 years ago and I just don’t use them anymore. She’s not with us any more but she was very proper her whole life and some of the things she tried to teach us girls when we were young caused some serious eye rolling from us! Anyway there are also four generations of men in my family who graduated from U of I. So she was a big supporter of the university and Moscow in general. So what I’m trying to say is that if I was going to sell my dishes, she’s pretty happy you found me.”
I texted back to tell her that not only do we live in Moscow, but Russ is a professor at UI, three of my children have graduated from the university, and Samuel will graduate this spring. I told her that in the chaos of having 11 children, the one refinement I’ve maintained is a pretty dinner table. We were both touched by our exchange.
The boys picked the dishes up the next day, and I was delighted to see them. Then I noticed my money tucked in the box. I had a moment of panic, until Samuel explained that the woman told him she wanted to give the dishes to me. I got teary; she doesn’t know me, but she had a heart to bless me; I felt the flow of generosity and kindness coming from her.
Sunshine and I talked about how we had recently given some things away and how amazing it is to then have something given to us. It’s a circle of generosity that feels sweet and is life-giving.
My friend, Liz, has been teaching me about the joy of letting go and releasing things in order to bless others and ourselves. I’ve watched her declutter her home and free herself from many things. I suppose it’s a bit funny that my story involves acquiring Christmas dishes, a completely unnecessary luxury, but the dishes give joy. I want to live by this quote,
Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
For me, these dishes are beautiful. At the end of a long, painful year, this gift was a sweet blessing. I pray that 2014 will be a year of living with open hands, loving people, being generous toward others, and releasing the things that are no long useful or beautiful in my own life.
This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.