I believe in used furniture
My parents have lived in our house for almost thirty years, yet nothing in it matches. In our living room we have a navy blue plaid couch and loveseat along with a light blue recliner on top of a huge maroon rug. All our furnishings are from yard sales, given to us by people moving or refurnishing, or are things we rescued from the curb, in decent condition but needing minor repairs. People bring us things that they can’t keep but don’t have the heart to throw away, knowing that we’ll take care of them or find someone who will. I love my home; it is cheerful and welcoming. A house doesn’t need to be perfect. The imperfections found in houses are similar to those found in people and give them character.
I remember riding home with my dad from church on several occasions and hearing him say something along the lines of “I can’t let them throw that out.” I was always surprised to see him back his truck up, load whatever it was, and take it home. I was a little embarrassed to have my father taking things out of people’s garbage, but it seemed important to him. So I wouldn’t say anything. In his mind these things were treasures.
It wasn’t until very recently that I realized that it’s not as simple as getting someone’s desk, lawnmower, or vacuum cleaner off the curb before it was thrown out, but about mending the broken and seeing everything as if it were a treasure.
When I think of a treasure, I think of something of irreplaceable sentimental or monetary value, not something someone would willingly throw out. My views have changed as I begin to see the whole picture. When I look around I see a lot of things that are broken or being replaced, and it’s not limited to furniture.
My father is a fix-it man, not limited to fixing cars and utilities; he also fixes people. We encounter a lot of people who need a little fixing, as everyone does at some point in life. We try to help them as best we can: anything from helping someone move or fixing a car. Sometimes all we can do is pray.
I see the lines between people and possessions blur. It’s scary to think that people are beginning to see each other as replaceable. If that is so, than what reason do we have to fight for our relationships? More marriages end in divorce than success. Could it be that when times get tough we just start over rather than having something worth fighting for?
My father taught me to believe in used furniture. Sometimes things need a little sanding or a little patchwork but that doesn’t make it any less of a treasure. Now when I see something or someone that has been put out on the curb I think how can I fix it?
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.