Away to a Stranger

It is 5:30am on the Saturday  before Labor Day. I stand in the doorway in my pajamas and the chill of the morning and look out on all the stuff, my heart swelling a bit. Illuminated only by the orange street lamp in the predawn darkness, the sight is an anomaly. For a second I wonder how this stuff got in my driveway. I know, of course, I set it up yesterday for our tag sale, but still it gives me a kind of backwards Christmas morning feeling.

Being an adult and a parent (essentially on the giving side of the holiday), I know the scene under the tree. I helped create it. But I still marvel at the sight Christmas morning when I invariably wake up before the kids (Admit it. You do it, too.), tiptoe down the stairs, and peek at the tree. I tell the child in me not to look as the adult in me turns on the lights. Then I tiptoe halfway back up the stairs and Groundhog Day it all over again, this time with sparkling lights. Oooh! Ahhh! And there it is. The wonder.

Perhaps I digress. But do I really? Can there be Christmas morning wonder in a tag sale? I believe so. Undecking the halls can be as festive as hanging holiday wreaths and bells. I understand they are very different. Instead of running from store to store purchasing “just right” gifts for family and friends, we walk from room to room gathering miscellaneous odds and ends for strangers. Instead of wrapping, we’ve washed. Instead of wassail, there’s lemonade. Instead of buying, we’re selling.

As I look out on our cast off items, I know Christmas and tag sales are very different, but the wonder is still there. As adults we worry about careers and salary and budgeting responsibly. As parents we worry about providing for our children. We worry about what we don’t have. But looking out on tables laden with the trappings of 21 years of married life, and still having a house full of stuff, reality hits. It’s a lot of stuff. If we have this much stuff we don’t need, then we certainly have all the things we do need. Although by some local standards we are not rich, we have indeed been richly blessed. Of course, our biggest blessings are not on the tables in our driveway but nestled all snug in their beds. It is the people we love in our lives that bring joy to our world.

Labor Day seems like a good day to say thank you. To God and to the troops He’s provided to protect our freedom. The freedom to work, the freedom to buy and sell, the freedom to celebrate holidays and church services and a million other things. Happy holidays!

About Amy Nicholson

A busy wife and mother pausing to ponder the beauty and complexity of life and share it with words.
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