A Yard Sale Witness
by Malinda Fillingim
We were moving . . . again. Seems like we have moved more than most folks. But the upside of having made that many moves, I know how to have a good yard sale!
Items were priced to sale, tagged, and sorted. Clothes were in great shape, some still had the store tags on them. Yep, I never lost that weight I wanted to lose when buying those outfits.
Brand new household items were ready to find a new home, some gifts I could never use. Who knows how to use a toenail electric file? Not me! How many heated pillows does one person need anyway? Six? That’s five too many!
Dishes that looked brand new sat ready to greet foods I never cooked before.
Yep, I am the queen of yard sales, shedding things as we move, tossing out the old getting ready for the new.
I am also one who likes to share the love of God.
And a really good day is when I can share the love of God at a yard sale, where people are looking for bargains, but find something that money cannot buy: God’s love.
It began with Jose, a three-year-old boy who started throwing my daughter’s discarded balls at me. I threw them back, but he was not sure how to catch a ball. I had fun teaching him, and together we played catch while his grandmother looked for clothes for him. I apologized that the only clothing I had was for girls, but I did have a lot of books Jose might like.
Between her broken English and my broken Spanish, we managed to communicate well enough that Jose took home several great books about people from the Bible and a few balls, all for a very discounted price. She kissed my cheeks as she left and patted my hand, thanking me over and over. How happy I am knowing that Jose has read the same books my children grew up on. Who knows? One day he might pitch in the World Series, throwing balls straight and hard.
Beth and her husband bought the rocker where I sat singing lullabies to my children. They were expecting their first child in a few months and the price was right for them . . . at least half off the already low price. We talked about raising children, their fears, and I told them I would be pray-ing for them, which brought a smile to their faces.
Mary got my kitchen table for her son who was returning from Iraq and needed furniture for his new apartment. Sarah got lots of clothing for her church’s clothes closet, all really cheap, I might add. Nadine and I talked a long time before she took off with the ping-pong table my daughter and I kept in the garage, where we played vicious games, opening up long lines of communication. Nadine was using it for her daughter who had come home with ten more piercings than she left with the night before. Nadine thought the ping-pong table might bring them together. We prayed about it all before she loaded it into her pickup truck. I hope they are having as much fun as my daughter and I did, even when I lost.
People came and talked for what seemed like forever, there under the hot summer sun. But I listened. Seems some people are just lonely, look-ing for someone to listen to them, to hear their sorrows, or just to talk with them. Pretty soon I began to bring out more chairs, pass out cold bottles of water, and invite folks to just come and sit awhile. It began to be more like a yard sit-in. I looked around and saw people talking, laugh-ing, and enjoying meeting people they would otherwise never know, people spending a Saturday morning looking for a good find, only to find out the best thing to find is a person who cares about you.
Finally, my goods were about gone. It had been a good day, talking, laughing, and discussing issues of faith and family.
I had not made nearly as much money as I needed to fund our move, but I felt very rich.
A lady who had lingered came and asked me about an old, wooden bread bowl. As we talked about it, she said, “You have been a yard sale witness today. I have watched you and I sense the love of God just flowing out from you.”
That night, as I packed up items for donation to the Salvation Army, I smiled. As a little girl I had always wanted to be a missionary. Who knew my mission field would be my own front yard?
Malinda Fillingim writes from South Carolina.