I hate yard sales. I really do. I threw a bunch of stuff over the past year in the basement studio closet and the pile grew and grew. Then I moved the pile to the garage where it has stewed in the sweltering Tennessee heat. I advertised my garage sale on Craigslist and put up a couple of signs (which the HOA promptly pulled down because you have to pay for a permit to have a yard sale…ugh HOA) My good friend Devin informed me that I should have lots of fabuious pictures to lure buyers and I should post on Facebook Buy Sell sites. Grrr. I hate yard sales. People try to give you a quarter for a pair of shoes because they have been worn. Seriously. That’s why they are in the yard sale pile. Get out of my yard, lady!
I was setting things out super early when a van opened up. A robust man got out of the van and politely said, “Good morning.” He asked if I had any vintage furniture from the 50s and 60s. I said, “Sorry.” Then we began to talk. He asked me when I was moving and the dam broke. I spilled forth my soul..I don’t know…I might not..I haven’t sold my house…still don’t have a job..it’s just time to get rid of some things..four years ago…traveling guitar player/songwriter…And then he spilled his soul ..My wife and little girl died 17 years ago in an accident….my daughter would have been 21 this spring…I left Utah because I had to escape..I drive tour buses and do the vintage furniture for fun…I don’t think I can ever risk loving again because it’s too painful…I have my dogs…I’m not sure what happens when we die. I told him how I was able to pick myself up, but it’s a neverending work in progress. It’s a favorite stage shirt that caught my tears today. It’s messages from people who don’t understand that I have preserved many, many things for my kids. We talked for about 15 minutes surrounded by my stuff. Stuff that really doesn’t matter in the end.
Everyone has a story. We wear masks that hide the burdens of pain, grief, and fear of loss and of loneliness. But I truly believe that each of us is watched over by a God who never blinks. If you don’t believe in God, think of the last time you were down and then lifted by someone or something. That’s what God represents to me: a sudden lift, a buoy. an out of the blue text message from a friend. So if you’ve ever experienced unexpected grace, well, you decide for yourself.
Before he left, he thanked me and hugged me, “This is probably the best thing that could have happened to me today. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start my Friday,” he said. “For me too!” I exclaimed. And it was true, because it was truly a crappy yard sale. And I get to do it all over again tomorrow morning.