Monday, October 11, 2010

The Stroller

Just over a year ago, I was contemplating a move to another town in South Carolina (little did I know God had other plans for me). At my realtor’s suggestion, I packed up most of the “extras” and “clutter” of my house and neatly stacked the boxes in the garage. Before I could stack the boxes, I had to clear out all of the “junk” from the garage that was 7 years worth of accumulation. But, you know what “they” say: “One man’s junk is another’s treasure.” So, I had a yard sale! At that yard sale, I couldn’t bare to part with my (then) four year old’s baby seat and matching stroller. I knew Blaine would NEVER again be able to fit in the stroller, but it just seemed the best place for it was to sit in my garage and accumulate dust and spider webs.
This past weekend, my sister and mom had a yard sale. I planned to try and sell my old washing machine there and as I went out to the garage to clean it off and get it ready, I began to look around my garage. Remember, it’s only been a year or so since I cleaned it out and organized it … As I looked around I realized there was more new “stuff” and I couldn’t figure out where it came from or how my garage had gotten so disorganized and cluttered, AGAIN! As I started to look through the “stuff,” there was that baby seat and stroller. Yep, you guessed it – to the back of the car and over to my sister’s it went.
I’d thought about how much I wanted someone to pay for it and settled on $50 for the set. After all, I’d originally paid over $200.00 for it! But, secretly, I was hoping that no one would ask about it or purchase it. And, until around 11:00a.m. that was working quite nicely for me; I was sure that in about an hour, I’d be packing it pack in my car and returning it to my garage.
I noticed her because she had beautiful red hair and was clearly of Irish decent, but was speaking Spanish and translating for the women with whom she had arrived. They would look at the baby clothes and other toys my sister had out. Then the red headed young woman would ask Jessica a question and tell the others in Spanish what Jessica’s answer was.
About that time, another woman came up and asked about the stroller. She didn’t want the baby seat, just the stroller, so I told her $30. She went to make a phone call to friend she knew might want the stroller but had to leave a message. She was convinced her friend might call back and so she was waiting and continued to look. About that time, I had to walk away for a moment and the red headed woman and her friends asked my sister about the cost of the stroller and seat. Since Jessica had just heard me tell the other woman $30, she told them $30. But, Jessica didn’t know the other woman didn’t want the car seat.
When I returned, Jessica told me what was going on and I was, honestly, a bit disappointed that I wasn’t going to get the full $50 for both pieces, should this red headed lady decide she want to purchase the stroller. But as I watched what unfolded next, I was so impressed with the way these ladies were truly living in community; it reminded me of the characteristics of the early Christian church how they lived in community.
We read in Acts about how willing the early church went about helping one another. See Acts 2:44-47. All the Lord's followers often met together, and they shared everything they had. Verse 45 says: “They would sell their property and possessions and give the money to whoever needed it” (CEV). The main idea is that they were willing to give up all that they had so that others (their own family in Christ) would not have to go without.
As it turned out, the young red headed woman had just given birth to a baby, two weeks ago. This is why she was interested in the stroller. But, apparently, she did not have enough money to purchase the stroller because she had already purchased a car seat cover from my sister. She asked my sister if she could return the car seat cover and my sister said yes. After this, another of the Spanish speaking women purchased the car set cover for the red headed woman. About this time, another of the Spanish speaking women, went out to her car and came back with a $20 bill and gave it to the red headed woman. Still another of the Spanish speaking women, made her purchase of some clothes and gave her “change” to the red headed woman. She handed me the $30 and pushed the stroller away.
While all of this was going on, I had a few moments to prepare myself for the departure of the stroller. I know this is silly … but, emotionally, I thought it would be a hard thing to see the stroller and car seat rolled away and placed in someone else’s car. After all, letting go of the stroller meant I have to admit I have a big boy, kindergartner now, right? And that means I’m getting older. And that means, before I know it Blaine will be off to college. And that means things are changing. And that means … well, you see my thought pattern here, right? But I sat stunned, yet at peace, as these four women walked out of the yard side by side - laughing, talking, and happy for all they had accomplished together. I’m sure they thought they got a good deal on all they left my sister’s yard with (and they did), but more than that they gave and shared all they had, so that another could benefit. What a great lesson God spoke and challenged me with through these ladies.
Might I do a better job at remembering, every day, how blessed and lucky I am to live in community with such good friends, family, and in my church. Might I strive to be more like those Spanish speaking women who would do anything to help their red-headed “sister.”

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