Everything I Needed to Know, I Learned at an Estate Sale
(image source)I stood watching a man open up a closet door, shoving the contents aside as he quickly sized up whether he might make use of them or not. As I made my way through the narrow hallway to take a look myself, I noticed a fancy ball gown amid the winter coats and polyester pants. All bedazzled in sequins and gold lame. And I wondered: Where did the owner wear this? I could picture her…smoothing out the ruffles…adjusting her perfectly coiffed hair…re-applying her lipstick…adding another coat of mascara…surveying herself in the mirror. Did she feel beautiful in it? Did she have fun that night? Was it all she had hoped? Did her husband whistle in approval? Dancing and laughing. Feeling gorgeous in her fancy gown. And when she came home, she undressed and hung it up. In this closet. On that very hanger. And through the years she kept that dress. Even if she no longer fit into it. Because in that noisy, swishing fabric lay precious memories. And now… Years later.. she is dead. The dress is nothing more than a gaudy item at a Saturday morning Estate Sale. Shoved aside by strangers. Considered ugly and dated now. Not even worth the $1 price tag dangling from the sleeve. And as I wandered the house…a roof and walls that once was a home… Surveying the treasures. Collections painstakingly accumulated. Knick knacks and bright orange lamps. 900 old records in dusty boxes. Amber colored mugs and avocado hued Pyrex dishes. A garage filled with tools that would make Sears envious. Dead. Dead. Dead. Gone. Forever. All these things.. left behind. For strangers to pick over like vultures. Haggling over 50 cents. Unaware of their value once upon a time. And I stood, tears in my eyes, against a wall. Watching. My mortality in stark view. How this will surely be my home someday. My kitchen cupboards being rummaged through. My prized decorations. My dresses and coats. My candlesticks and vases. Going home in foreign hands for pennies. And I realized… In the middle of a dead stranger’s home... That none of it matters. Not one bit of it. My things…are things. Left behind and completely and utterly meaningless. And in that moment, in a stuffy, strange house I was reminded Of God's Holiness. That my pretty Pottery Barn serving dishes… My Stainless Steel appliances… Even my beloved Le Creuset collection… DOESN’T MATTER. It will all stay here. It will be sold off or donated. But what will remain is not tangible or easily held in the palm of a hand. What stays behind is not something that can be sold for $3 on a sunny morning. What I want to leave here is different and much more precious. I want to spend my limited days here… Giving. Loving. Serving. Praising. Mightily and until it hurts. This is not to say that I will sell all of my possessions tomorrow and move to a hut in the jungle. No. I will continue to collect beautiful things. I will always have a soft spot for fancy cookware.
What will your legacy be? Are you living it NOW? What are you waiting for?