As this will be a busy weekend I thought I would share a story I wrote several years ago. Happy Mother’s Day
A GODportunity or The Rocking Chair and Three Men
My wife found a fifties style living room set made of solid wood with wide armrest and bright orange flowered cushions at the Salvation Army and caught a vision of their potential. The set consisted of a six-foot long couch, a matching rocking chair, a lounge chair of similar style and ten cushions, all for only forty-five dollars. The cushions were not original to the set because they did not fit quite right. But she was convinced that with a little work they would brighten up the sun/TV room of our house. Knowing my objections would go nowhere; we purchased them. I carefully tied the couch to the top of our 1989 Ford Taurus, arranged the chairs in the trunk and tied it down. I stuffed orange flowered cushions where they could fit and drove home wondering about the new additions to our household.
I always wonder about the history of used furniture: where was it made, who had sat on them, why did it finally end up at the Salvation Army and who made those orange flowered cushions. My oldest two sons and I spent a week sanding off some of the stories it did tell like “who loved John”, a variety of misspelled words and several burn spots. Clearly the living room set had a chapter in its history that they would like to forget. After two coats of polyurethane stain the set looked pretty good. I guess the hard work and the dark colored stain helped to improve the orange flowered cushions, because they did look nice in our sunroom. Score another one for my wife’s perceptive vision.
They lived a pretty mild and sort of short chapter with us, but they served us well as those orange flowered cushions were pretty comfortable. We continued to redo and rearrange our house and soon we realized their season with us had ended. We finally made the decision to have a two-day yard sale with them as the main attraction.
The early morning part of Day One went well, we sold a lot of stuff but no one even looked at our comfortable, finely finished, orange flowered living room set. Now the saga of the Three Men begins; late in the morning Man One pulled up in a truck loaded high with furniture. Our hopes rose that the living room set would soon be sold. He introduced himself with a business card for a used furniture store in a nearby town. He said, “ I will make you a fair deal for both of us.” He proceeded to offer us half of our asking price. He put forth a few other chaffing comments as we finally said,” If they don’t sell by tomorrow we will give you a call.”
With all the work of sanding and staining to be offered that was maddening and outrageous. I leaned over to my wife and said,” I would rather give them away than sell them to him.” I should have known better! God hears those kinds of statements and my wife’s big tender heart never forgets.
Man Two arrived as our first customer of Day Two. He pulled up in a well-worn compact car. He came from Egypt and had not been in America very long, he needed a rocking chair and thought ours would be perfect. I was leery of breaking up the set and he was short on cash. He said he would come back later with his wife and more money to check and see if it was sold. My sons recognized him as a clerk from the corner store down the highway. I dismissed his offer as most people don’t come back.
A couple of hours had gone by when that well-worn compact car drove in the driveway once again. He got out of the car followed by two energetic preschoolers; he then opened the passenger door for a very pregnant wife. My wife gave me “the look” and I knew what was about to happen to the “all wood, finely finished, orange flowered living room set.”
Man Three, driving a pickup drove up about this time and began browsing our garage sale offerings. He watched and listened as the “very pregnant wife” settled comfortably into the rocker and my wife asked the couple all kinds of questions. I knew I would be parting with my furniture. Man Three listened as my wife gave away my comfortable, finely finished, orange flowered living room set. We then discussed how we could get the set to their house when Man Three stepped up and said,” Since you are giving them the living room set, load them in my truck and I will take it to their house. I will be glad to help with this blessing.”
The living room set fit much better in his truck than on the top of my car. My wife thought the “very pregnant wife” needed a beautiful homegrown flowering plant, it did not match the cushions, so it was added into the truck.
We waved as they drove off down the street. Besides a good warm glow on the inside, a hug from my wife completed my earthly payment.
I never saw any of those Men again.
The living room set I am sure added another chapter to its long and useful history of service. And for us, it had provided a GODportunity at a yard sale to bless someone.