Goodwill:: a store where people donate their unwanted things which are then priced and put out into the store for me (and other people) to buy.
Goodwill:: an actual treasure box in which a beautiful understanding and appreciative people will almost always find something wonderful meant just for them to adopt and bring home.
Yesterday, after yet another satisfying trip up and down the aisles of Goodwill, I stepped out of the store with my purchases. My arms were full and I was foolishly trying to carry a large and heavy print by its frame, with one hand. As I was walking lightly (and triumphantly) to the car, the weight of the print pulled the frame apart and broke it at the corner seam. In an instant, the glass and print fell forward to the pavement and loudly smashed into a million pieces. I let out a shriek as the print immediately lifted up and blew away in the wind (as naturally, it was a very windy day.). I looked down at the frame, still in my hand, one corner separated and the rest of the corners bent and twisted at varying degrees (none of them 90). A little nail was caught in the threads of my shirt. I watched the print fly away as I walked to the car and untangled myself, put the frame into the trunk, and slammed it shut with annoyance.
I chased the print across the parking lot, down the road, and into a nearby field before I could catch it. It ripped several times as I carried it to the car, flapping. The wind was determined to carry it away again. Good grief, I thought. I just paid 10.99 for this beautiful thing. With the print safely in the back, I drove to the “scene of the accident” to retrieve the cardboard backing. As the glass was unsalvageable, I left it and drove home.
I told Sarah the story when she got home from the school. She started laughing and then covered her eyes with her fingers, “I’m glad it happened mom,” she said with sad honesty. “Where would you put it??” She uncovered her eyes and gestured around the room. Truly, it did seem that there was no wall space left anywhere in the house. But I just knew I could find room.
Later, when Rich was home, I told him the sad story, too, and we went out to the car so I could show him what I had left to work with; a broken frame full of nails, the print, and an old stiff piece of cardboard. Everything in pieces, yet to my eyes, beautifully aged and redeemable. Without hesitation, he carried the broken frame to the trash. I protested, “Don’t throw it away, I’m going to fix it!” “What?” he said laughing, “No you aren’t, it’s broken! It’s old! You can get a new frame, I’m helping you.” In the trash it went and then we silently stood and looked at each other.
He: “what’s she going to do.”
She: “I guess I’ll get a new frame, I do love that one though it has character and it’s old and I don’t care that it isn’t perfect, it’s a nice frame made of hardwood and matches the print perfectly.”
Together we entered the house.
Welp. This morning I found myself home alone with nowhere to go. I sat on the couch with my coffee and noticed that the cat was curled up on the table—on the print— like it was his bed. As I looked at him sleeping, I found myself rising up off the couch and ……. then I was standing in front of the trash can outside in my bare feet. I blinked my eyes. I watched as my own arms slowly stretched toward the frame, and then my own hands delicately lifted it from the garbage.
I stepped lightly (triumphantly) across the driveway.
I went inside the house.
I fixed the frame the best I could.
I pulled out all the little nails in back. (quite satisfying, I felt like a dentist).
I put the print and cardboard back inside the frame.
I found a place to hang it.
As I worked I thought, what is it about me that didn’t just leave the print blowing around in Plainville? Why didn’t I throw the frame away myself right there at the goodwill? Why did I go back and pick up the backing? Why didn’t I throw it all away? It had fallen apart and broken and ripped, the very definition of garbage. Why did I chase after it? Why did I drive it home? Why did I take the frame back out of the trash can? Why am I planning on finding a piece of glass for it?
Quite simple; I wanted it. I chose it. I paid for it. It was mine.
And when I want something I don’t throw it away unless I truly must. I’ll chase it, and gather up its pieces, and figure out how to put it back together again. It’s mine.