Every once in awhile, I'll get "Inspired!", so why not make this a regular feature in which I share with you my latest, greatest idea You might have considered the first one was Rumors, so let's consider this "Inspired! 2."
A Grace Sale.
I wrote Friday's post about not making money for love shortly after I had visited a friend's garage sale. I hadn't planned it that way; my Friday post was already much in the works before my short venture out, but so it happened. My friend loved the post and then told me she wants to give me my 50 cents back (I bought something for my nephew while scoping out the other good things). I laughed. That wasn't the whole point of Friday's post, but this exchange got me thinking.
It's so easy in our society to get rid of the things we don't want. If it's not any good, we throw it to the curb and a company comes by and scoops it away to the refuge of the untouchable where, eventually, most of it should decompose within the next ten billion years. If it's worth reusing, we'll box it up and take it to somewhere like a Goodwill, a Salvo, a Lord's Locker, a pantry - somewhere for someone in need to come and get it, pay a little money, and take it away...all without our having to do anything but drop it off. For free.
Then there are those of us who are uber-organized and super-gifted at this sort of thing, and we have a great deal of reusable stuff to get rid of, so we have a garage sale. (Or yard sale, depending on your garage availability, neighborhood association rules, or a variety of other factors.) I'm not any good at the garage sale, so I usually pass and opt for the Goodwill, but some people have great success sitting in their yards all day.
...where unassuming strangers come and haggle over your already ridiculously-low prices, trying to get a great deal. I like what Jeff Foxworthy says about such things, something about talking the seller down to a nickel for a whole set of tupperware lids that had been melted in the dishwasher. Not because he particularly needed the lids, but because he was having his own sale in a few weeks and needed more items. I laughed...because that's me.
But I was thinking about this. We have more stuff than we need, and we know the crowds of garage shoppers looking for a bargain. We also, if we're honest, have more time than we need. Wouldn't it be fun to take all our extra stuff and all our extra time and mark it all up for a garage sale, put little price stickers on everything, assign arbitrary value to the stuff that we've already deemed worthless to us moving forward but know there is someone out there looking for just this....and sit in our driveways, our yards, our garages for a weekend and let people come to look at it?
Sounds like a garage sale, but here's the catch: give it all away.
When someone comes and picks up a few items, brings them over to the table and starts to haggle, tell them just to take it. Everything is free. When a young woman comes to pick up a few items for her yet-to-be-born child, then puts them back because she doesn't have five dollars today, give them to her anyway with a smile. When a child toddles over and picks up that oversized teddy bear and gives it a big hug, bend down and tell him to take the bear home with him. Watch him smile. Watch him beam. Watch these individuals who were looking for a bargain find something better - a real deal. Grace.
What would it mean for us to not just do this, but to do this with the realization of what it means not to grace these shoppers with our items, but with our time? What would it do in our hearts to engage with the individuals taking over our hand-me-aways? Not just dumping stuff off for the Goodwillers to pick through and dig through and pile up somewhere away from here....but setting it all up and giving it all away and in the meantime, meeting a new friend or two, creating a new relationship, being a part of our community, and giving some very needing (and of course, your run-of-the-mill treasure hunters) something we could never drop off at a store or a pantry or a donation bin: humanity.
You need this? You want this? Take it. Here's a smile to go with it. Maybe a little story of where that came from. A tale about the time it spent in these hands. A little bit of my time because I have more than I need - of everything, it seems - and I want to share this moment with you.
We'll call it a grace sale, but we won't have to advertise it that way. Just set it up like a sale and make it a point by the end of the weekend to have given it all away as best we can. To have met everyone who chose our driveway, our yard, our garage. To have shaken their hand, looked them in the eye, shot them a smile, shared a hug. To have given something more than melted tupperware lids or an old bookcase. To give away grace. From our too much to their...whatever their story may be.
(And no, this isn't supposed to make you garage salers feel bad. I get it; if I was any good at them, I might have more. But some days, I think our neighbors just need a grace sale. Consider me Inspired!)