Friday, August 10, 2012

Sometimes...You Need to Hear a Story

I just love how on the days when we are feeling a little discouraged, God knows exactly what we need. Today was no exception. We are still dealing with a long work week for Andy, and some stress on the job front. I looked into some other options for my own employment and the news was encouraging. Not a for sure thing, but encouraging because there are some possibilities for increasing my hours.

Today I also had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful couple. I love talking to people who have more experience in life than I do. There is something so encouraging about talking with folks who have been through similar trials and who enjoy similar things. My last post talked about looking past the labels and finding friendship. Today I found a friend in the sweetest little lady. I won't reveal her age because, ladies of course don't appreciate the spreading of that information, but I will say that she and her husband have enjoyed 65 years of marriage and they are going strong.

I stopped by their home today lured by the signs stating "garage sale." I'm a sucker for sales and although I knew who the home belonged to I'd never really had a chance to speak with the couple. As I browsed the selection of items, I talked with her about my goal of creating a kitchen inspired by those of the 40s and 50s.

One of the things I love about antiques is that unlike new things, they all have a story. People love to share these stories if you take the time to listen. As soon as I mentioned my love of antiques and my recent purchase of cabinets from the 40s, my new friend just lit up. She started telling me about the cabinet she had that was her mothers before her and about her collection of antiques. She had seemed so quiet when I first stopped, but now she was bubbling over. I was invited inside her home so that I could see her treasures. What a privilege it was!

She and her husband have such a beautiful home, and her collection of glassware and antique furniture is extensive but uncluttered. I loved her stories. Many of the items in her home were passed down from her mother, they were obviously loved and well cared for. What touched me the most though, was the little things, bits and pieces of her collections that she pointed out specifically because her husband had bought them for her. They were proudly displayed in their home like a patchwork quilt pieced from the years they've been blessed to be together.

From the Singer sewing machine that he purchased for her in 1955 that still works like new, to the room he had added on just for her to enjoy, everything she pointed out that he had done for her just spoke to me. It wasn't that I loved the porcelain figures or the glass bowls. It was the love that was shown through them, her in being so proud of the little things he had picked up for her, and his willingness to choose carefully the items she would most enjoy. It was clear that after 65 years they were still best friends and still enjoying life together.

She and I talked a bit about marriage too. She repeated the old adage about never going to bed angry and I loved how she talked about how important it was to let go of the days' frustrations to start fresh each morning in marriage, and how important prayer was. (Definitely, summing up what the Lord's been telling me this week). She also shared how her husband struggled with his role as provider and finding the right job when they were first married. She shared how he worried and how she too wished she could do more to help him with that burden.

We laughed and we cried together and when I left, I was happier. I felt prepared to deal with whatever my husband would need from me when I got home. This evening is was, the ok to cancel plans that would involve spending money because it was needed elsewhere. I was ok with it though because I remembered another thing my sweet friend had said. "I don't keep antiques just because they are old, and I only keep the things I love." I think that statement applies to just about everything, not just clutter, or collections, or finances. It's about what's important and what we treasure. In the case of my friends they clearly treasured their marriage and placed God at the center of it, and they have been blessed. I'm reminded of this verse.

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:21

What do you treasure? Are you hanging on to the past or to the clutter in your life because it's old? Are you laying up treasures on earth focusing on money, or material things? Or, are you focusing on the things of God and the blessings of love and family? I needed the reminder today that even though material things might have value to society they don't hold a candle to the true value of being able to trust in God. I can find joy knowing He's got it covered, we're going to be ok regardless of the troubles we are facing.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds," James 1:2

Who knows! Maybe someday, if it's his will, I can share 65 years of memories with a newlywed needing encouragement. =)

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