A Sweatshirt, An Auction and A Piano

“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” Luke 6:31 (ESV)

It was an auction. An auction marathon, my husband called it. Three days of storage containers opened and treasures to be found. As I saw the contents, I couldn’t help but wonder what was the story. Why had these been left for so long? Why had the owners not been able to retrieve their contents?

The way this auction worked is you saw what you saw and could not open the contents till you were home. You would have to take a risk on whatever you bid on concerning its quality and often times, content. Could be treasure or it could simply be garbage. It is an interesting people watching event because you can begin to see who are there to try and make a living and who was there for fun. We were there for fun.  The second day we ended up with a mystery box lot – treasures to be gone thru and then another treasure, which I will talk about later.

The box lot was interesting – it had a mix of things but what I was struck by was that you could see what this person’s interest was. If you were to take a global fly over of my life – what would be seen. What would my stuff tell you about who I am, what I believe in, what I hold close to me. It would show some but it would miss a critical piece of the puzzle. Me. Without the person in the story we don’t have the full story. All we have is our assumptions.

How often I use my assumptions in making a judgment on who I talk to, who I interact with, what I will or will not do. As a gauge on how I respond or should respond. My assumptions take out two critical components; the other person and Jesus.  I am walking with Jesus. He has invited me into His world and asked me to join him on His mission. That means my lens needs to be cleaned and often times changed.  And then there is the other person – when I allow my assumptions to win I miss out on the other person’s story, on an opportunity to see Jesus, be His hands and feet, or vice a versa. And that brings us to the sweatshirt.

On Sunday, I wore my turquoise Special Olympic Sweatshirt to the auction.  I wear it with pride & and for awareness. Rarely do I receive any kind of acknowledgment to the fact I am wearing it, today was the day that would change. We stood at the back of the auction-eating fries & listening to the bidding and a woman across the way got my attention. She gave me a thumb up but I was not tracking exactly what she was talking about. She walked over and starting talking. What proceeded was her sharing a piece of her story, almost tearing up and telling me a little bit about the Native’s perspective on special needs.  The conversation ended with a “God bless you”. I spoke maybe 10 words. The experience has stuck with me and was the highlight of the entire auction.  I was left wondering why God orchestrated this encounter.

As I sat in the gathering that evening listening to the message,  God showed me some things I had not seen before. As I have chosen to simply be in my community, to be a part of my community connections are made. Connections that may not be made anywhere else, I don’t know if anything more will come from the encounter but I know that I learned two valuable lessons.   God uses strangers to encourage us, I was encouraged from this encounter. We connect with people by being around people, not shoving an agenda, a program, a rule…..rather simply be a part of what is going on.

It was risky to reach out even to listen but well worth it.  Faith is risky & causes radical obedience…..and that leads us to the piano.

Listening to Jesus is an adventure & Saturday night I took a risk that I didn’t think I would do. I bought a piano. I didn’t see the piano before I bought it. I heard them auction it and said a prayer and went for it.  It was a risk that I am still wrapping my head around.  Playing the piano is something I enjoy but had gotten to a point where I was content that it was a season that had passed.  I would not have bought a piano, I had not even thought of getting one again; but God provided the opportunity and I listened. God orchestrated the details.

I came home from work today to the piano in place and my music books available.  My husband told me to put my things down, head downstairs and check it out. Not until the keys were beneath my fingers and I was playing songs of praise did I realize how much I had missed interacting with music on a very real and personal level.

God redeems and heals each area of our lives if we will let Him. It takes action of faith, taking risks at times, overcoming fears and listening to the voice of Jesus. Hands open – palms up. God is good. Who knew a sweatshirt, an auction, and a piano would bring so much.

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