I sat in my rickety lawn chair, waiting for folks to walk up our driveway and buy our old treasures and trinkets as part of our neighborhood garage sale. Things were slow. Granted, I didn’t have much to put out, but still, I’d hoped to make enough to put a dent in our Christmas budget.
Sighing, I watched another car drive past. Our cat purred, rubbing around my legs as I sat and waited. At least she was getting plenty of attention so early on a Saturday morning.
An hour passed, then two. All I sold was a set of Avengers action figures my son had outgrown. Old baking ware sat untouched. The clothes I had painstakingly hung from the line swayed in the breeze. My children’s childhood memories lay scattered, unwanted. I should just put all this stuff away and go take a nap. Clearly we weren’t going to make a financial haul today…and wasn’t that the whole point of a garage sale?
As I contemplated whether to pack it all up, a sweet elderly couple walked up the drive. They both smiled and waved at me as they perused our merchandise. The older man pointed to my son’s old bungee chair and grinned. “Never seen a chair like that.”
I smiled. “It’s a bungee chair. Supposed to feel like a hammock. It’s for a child though.”
Pulling up the waistband of his worn jeans, he shrugged. “Think I’ll give it a try.”
Before I could protest, he had lowered himself into the small stretchy chair with a groan. His bottom nearly scraped the ground. I laughed as he chuckled.
“I gotta say, this thing is pretty comfortable. Only one problem.”
“What’s that, sir?”
He wrinkled his nose. “I have no idea how I’m gonna get out of this thing.”
His wife hooted and I moved to give him a hand. Slowly, painstakingly, we freed him from the bungee chair. He patted away beads of sweat forming on his bald brow. “Thank ya, missy. I thought I might have to live right here on this driveway for a minute!”
The three of us laughed and chatted about the morning, the neighborhood, and the ups and downs of life. Finally, I motioned toward our tables still filled with trinkets. “Are you looking for something in particular?”
The older man smiled, his blue eyes twinkling. “I already found what I’m looking for.”
I puzzled his response. He had barely looked at one item, save for the wild chair. “What’s that?”
I blinked as his wife jumped in. “We only go to garage sales to meet our neighbors. Encourage folks. Make someone laugh.” She grabbed her husband’s hand and squeezed. “Never were much for material things. We live in a tiny little apartment, but it does our hearts good to encourage those around us.”
My chest constricted. What beautiful spirits these two possessed. The older man stretched out his free hand and shook mine. “Like I said, I got what I came for. I made you smile.”
I grinned and squeezed his calloused fingers. “You did more than that. You make me laugh harder than I have in a while.”
“All the better. And by the way,” he winked, “you have a beautiful smile. Never stop.”
I waved as they departed, stung in conscience yet feeling as if I’d been given a beautiful gift. While I had sat internally grumbling about my fatigue, my Christmas budget, and the blessings of abundance, there were two sweet souls who used the opportunities set before them to encourage others. No agenda. Just love.
The power of a smile is a transformative thing. Even more so, the power of love can change a life.