Last week I trawled a seemingly endless number of op-shops. I was looking for an Art Deco sideboard and having no joy at all. After a long and fruitless day, I walked into one last place. It reminded me of a wardrobe in a hoarders house – a badly organised, mothball smelling, cluttered up, old wardrobe. I walked in from the back door and came across the usual array of clothing (old furs and wedding dresses) before maneuvering around some laminate pieces of furniture in various states of repair when my eyes fell on a treasure.
It sat in the middle of the store and I swear to you, I had a Hollywood love at first sight experience. It’s like all the light in the room suddenly focused down into one area. The harsh sounds of daily life faded to obscurity and someone, somewhere began to play the gentle stirring notes of a love song. And that’s how I laid eyes on the most perfect antique lounge I’ve ever seen.
It wasn’t what I was looking for, but it still made my heart skip a beat or two. I resisted my first urge to run over to it, throw myself across it and start hissing at the other bargain shoppers that it was “My precious!” Instead, I strolled casually over and tilted the price tag so that I could glance at the price. That’s pretty much when I came undone. I’m not saying that I definitely foamed at the mouth or that I definitely told my husband that there was no way in the world he would get me out of that shop without that lounge, but, twenty minutes later, I was the proud new owner of a very valuable piece of furniture (having paid about a tenth of what it was really worth). That day was a pretty good day!
It was also a pretty good picture of what life can sometimes be. We can end up feeling like we are sitting in the op-shop of life, surrounded by clutter and looking like someone else’s cast off. Some seasons of life find us so surrounded by sticky little fingerprints, dirty laundry and hard work that it is simply hard to picture ourselves as any sort of treasure. Some of us sit for years with the labels, and tags of other people tied to our heart telling us that our worth is far less than it truthfully is. We are waiting for someone to come along and recognise that we are a treasure, out of place in the every day.
But what if we didn’t wait any longer? What if we decided from this moment on that we would write our own tag, that we would recognise that we are a treasure in every place and in every season? Even in the op-shop seasons of life, those cluttered, chaotic, endlessly tiring seasons. How would life change if we treated ourselves, and those around us, as though we were priceless because that’s the reality; each of us is a treasure regardless of our tag. My guess is that if we began to value ourselves this way, life would get a little better. I believe that in valuing who we are as people we would teach our children their value too. That we would begin to bring up people who saw treasure where the rest of the world saw trash, people who knew how to find and draw that value out of others – and that is something I long to do!