You learn a lot from having a yard sale.
Lesson #1: I have neighbors! I already knew this of course. I see people, the same people, driving up and down my street and walking into houses near me, but I sadly confess I have not been the neighbor I should be. It seems we've become pretty adept at holing ourselves up in our air-conditioned and entertainment equipped homes that we can easily forget there are real people living all around us. As we sat outside in our front yard people from up and down the street came by and said hello. We may not have sold a lot, but we did get to know some new people. I learned it's hard to love your neighbor when you stay safe and protected surrounded by your walls. I might need to let some walls down and step outside a little more.
Lesson #2: Kids are the best shoppers. When a car would pull up and kids would shuffle out we knew we had a sale. There was more than a fair share of kids toys that our high school boys were willing to part with, so we had plenty of bait for eager children. It's so fun watching them rummage through the well-worn gadgets and doohickeys that entertained our kids for years but now were ready to serve that same purpose at a new address. And what's so refreshing about watching those kids is that it really didn’t matter that there was no fancy packaging or recognizable labels. Kids, and it seems the younger the better, are not impressed with labels and tags. I suppose we learn that deceptive lesson as we get older, but isn’t it wonderful to see kids finding joy in simple things. I think that may have been something of what Jesus meant when he told us to be like little children. If we could see the world through their eyes we may find ourselves less bothered by appearances and more amazed by the simple joys all around us.
Lesson #3: I have a lot of junk. For the last several months my wife has been boxing up our potential yard sale items. The evening before the sale we carried the dusty boxes down from the attic and early Saturday morning loaded it all on the tables. I guess everyone's yard sale fantasy is for someone to come by and offer you an outrageous amount of money for all your stuff and you can run off to the bank and take the rest of the day off. That didn’t happen. In fact, the crowds were slow to appear and the tables remained full. Sure, some things sold but sales were not near as swift as we had hoped. At one point my wife said to me she was amused at the thought of how delighted she would be if someone would just give us a dime for that thingamabob that at one time we couldn’t live without. Isn’t that strange? Things that we once thought would make our life complete we would gladly part with for ten cents. How has stuff managed to deceive us so completely and clandestinely? Sitting at that table eager to part with my "treasures" the words of Jesus rang so true: " Life does not consist in an abundance of possessions."
It was a good yard sale. We met some neighbors, were entertained by some kids, and cleaned out our attic. But more importantly we were reminded of how temporary stuff is and encouraged to set our hearts on things that will last.