Well pre-growth spurt as here I am about 8 years old (the biggest one, in plaid) and and there are only five of us. We are so well-dressed in this photo, I think it's probable that we were going to church.
It was at that opportune moment that a friend's mom dropped off a bunch of bags of clothes that her daughter had grown out of. Among the huge pile of clothes I received were eleven pairs of jeans that just happened to fit my newly larger body.
Now, let me tell you. I had never owned half that many pairs of jeans. And, if it had been left up to my mom to purchase clothes for 11 year old me, I wouldn't have gone naked...probably after a couple months of squeezing into "flooded" pants, she would have bought me 2 pairs of Walmart jeans. But here, simply given to me, were eleven pairs of not-Walmart jeans. These were brand name jeans. I don't remember the brands anymore, but they were whatever brand names were cool among pre-teens in 2002. Hot stuff.
They were simply given to me. My parents didn't buy them off of my friends' mom. I don't think they'd even asked around to see if anyone had clothes to give away. They were given. And though many years have passed since then, and I'm able to buy my own clothes, I remember when I wasn't, and I remember what I was given.
That story explains why I'm somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of selling stuff that I own. I can understand selling one's possessions in certain situations. Sometimes, it may be the best thing you can do. Perhaps when you're money-broke but stuff-rich, it may be the only way you can pay your bills or get rid of debt. Maybe for those who spend a lot of money buying something very expensive, and then decide they don't want it, they're uncomfortable with the thought of "losing money" after changing their mind about the item.
I've read about a lot of people who are in our situation, moving overseas, who have a home set up here, but will need to completely start over with a new home, and selling their possessions is a way to raise money to furnish their new home. It makes sense.
And yet, I can't help but feel uncomfortable with totally embracing that strategy in my own life. Yes, I won't need my winter boots where I'm going. Maybe I could consign them or garage sale them and make $7 off them. But I happen to know that my little sister wears the same size shoe as I do and has holes in the soles of her well-worn boots, and, like many a college student working their way through school, doesn't have a lot of cash for "extras" like boots without holes in them. What is $7 to me when I could keep my sister's feet dry?
Angel and I talk about how we're going to get rid of some of our largest possessions. I'm not saying we'll never sell anything, in fact, we probably will end up selling a few things. I don't know anyone who wants our semi-ugly but in great condition couch, so maybe we will list it on CraigsList...the bikes might go on Craigslist too. Angel calls his car "reliable," but it's the kind of car that's best for someone who knows what they're doing and can perform all fix-its himself when it breaks down from time to time. I've told him that I don't want to burden anyone I know and love with that troubled car, so we won't be giving his car to a family member or friend. I'd rather him sell it for a reasonable price to a stranger and be rid of the thing. However, there's also our grill. The grill we searched long and hard for our first summer together, the grill we splurged on because we had big plans for many years of family barbecues. Could we sell it? Probably, it's only 2 years old. But we happen to know a family whose grill has broiled its last hamburger, but they don't have the funds to replace it. I think I know where our grill will be going.
I'm not opposed to making money, though it could probably be argued that I might not be the sharpest when it comes to making a buck. When I see winter coats that I won't be using in the tropics, and a kitchen table that won't fit in my suitcase, I don't automatically see dollar signs. I see opportunities to give the way I've been given to.
So yeah. I could be worried about what Angel and I are going to sleep on when we arrive in our new home and are faced with the prospect of procuring a mattress. And what we're going to eat on when I no longer have my dishes. But, strangely, I'm not worrying about that. Yeah, I'm not making the sharpest deals around here, I'm not selling all the stuff I can't use at a fair market price so that I know I can buy replacements. You won't see a "Shop my Closet" sale on this blog because the clothes that aren't coming with me are headed for the closets of my sisters, cousins, and friends.Worst comes to worst, we'll live without some of the nice possessions we've enjoyed during our years here.
Making money isn't a bad thing. I'll gladly charge you for a head of highlights or a couple hours spent editing your self-published book or for ad space on my blog. The world runs by money, and I understand the need to make a living. But there's something powerful about giving stuff away. And not just the sucky stuff that you couldn't sell if you tried, either. Remember, all those years ago, those weren't Walmart jeans that were given to me. They were the good stuff. I'm sure those jeans could have been sold, that money could have been made. But, instead, they were given to me.
Years later, I remember those jeans when I pack up a box of yet-unopened home appliances and linens that we'll never be able to use to give to relatives who just bought their first home. It's my hope that some of the stuff I'm able to give away blesses others as much as those jeans blessed me.
When have you been given something that met a need in your life?
Or, when have you been able to meet someone else's need?
I bet almost everyone out there has someone in their life who might be in need right now. I challenge you, one of these days, choose to meet a real need in someone else's life instead of choosing to pad your wallet with a couple extra dollars worth of fun money. I think it'll be more worth it in the long run. After all, someday, a decade from now, there might be someone writing a blog about how she still remembers those old jeans you gave her when she didn't have the money to buy her own.