Cleaning out the garage never felt so good.
My wife is on a one-woman quest to get our garage purged of items we’ve long stopped using. You know the ones, the weed eater I kept saying I would get around repairing or bikes both kids outgrew. The latter, the kids became adults; the former, well, I quit the yard.
My point is what happened after loading old blue, our family SUV, with an eclectic mishmash of items. Imagine randomly clicking all over eBay you get the idea.
Our community is fortunate to be home to a Salvation Army center.
In the middle of the afternoon, as hot as the gods could make a Texas afternoon, I pulled old blue up to donation dock located in the rear of the Salvation Army.
Two people came out, one carried a clipboard – the other one of biggest smiles you’ll run across.
“Hey, how are you today!”
While we both shared the same heat wave moving across the concrete, his smile seemed to take the edge off the temperature.
“Bikes?” he said. “Awesome. These will be so useful.”
Unstrapping the first one from the rack, I thought back to the people sitting in the shade on the other side of the building. Quiet and moving slowly to stay beneath the dark cover, they looked just like anyone else. And they are. The only difference is they need something in their life. While some might point to a warm meal or a place to put their head down a night, there is more.
Everyone has something someone else needs more than you.
As I unloaded the second bike I thought of one individual sitting across the entrance beneath with an umbrella between him and the sun. Another rested beneath the early afternoon shade of a building reading a well-worn paperback book. These items, which I know I have more than I need, find an amplified value when they come to the Salvation Army.
With the bikes unloaded, I began unloading boxes from inside the back of the truck.
“A skateboard, really?”
Moments later I handed up a camelback wicker basket.
“Wow, someone is going to love this,” he said.
What I was discovering is a truckload of items we’d long stopped valuing miraculously appreciated during the short drive across town. In the eyes of those accepting the goods for the Salvation Army, they could seem them in the hands of others – making a difference in someone’s life.
If we are honest with ourselves, we all have too much stuff – stuff being a catchall term for old umbrellas that could find a use between someone and the unwelcome weather or a pile of books that could help another escape for an afternoon.
A short while later I walked back into the comfortable cool air conditioning of our home. And with my new eyes, I saw dozens of items I wanted to grab and put in the back of old blue. I hope this feeling doesn’t’ fade away.