It’s hard to believe that ten months have passed since I held my mother’s hand and watched her slip into eternity after battling Lung Cancer for nineteen months. It is equally as difficult to believe that it’s been eight months since my siblings and I made the grievous decision to place our eighty-year-old dad, who has Alzheimer’s disease, into a private memory care facility.
My parents had our home built next door to my grandparent’s home and moved our family of five into the new house the summer before I began Kindergarten. After fifty years, the house is full of all kinds of memories, some good, some not so good but never the less, it was home and we were greatly loved. My mom told me before she died that she and my dad had made a pact. They promised each other that they would “go together”. Six weeks after she passed away, we realized that Dad needed more extensive care than we could offer on our own to meet his daily living requirements. And so, the decision was made to place him in full time care. In a way, I suppose her words were true. They “went together”, vacating their home of fifty years; one vacating her earthly body and the other vacating his mind. Separately, but together as stated in the pact, they vacated.
For the past ten months, my siblings and I have had the laborious and emotional task of sorting through and finding new purpose for each item contained within the walls of our family home. One particular item, a small roll top desk that sat obscurely in the front entry hall of the house for forty years caught my eye as a piece that no one in our family wanted to keep. I lamented over the fact that the desk had been in the family for so many years, holding all of our childhood latest, greatest trophies, sports medals, handmade pottery, and now, small photos of our own children. Being the sentimental person that I am, I was having a very hard time deciding what to do with this small piece of furniture. I knew I did not have room for the desk and neither did any of my other family members. I also considered that over the many years, its significance was of little importance. After all, it was small, only had two shelves below, and absolutely no room for writing either by hand or computer. In my mind, apart from the sentimental value, I rendered it useless.
After several days of emotional turmoil, I decided to place the roll top desk on one of the neighborhood online sale sites praying that it would move quickly and I could get it out of sight and hopefully soon recover from the sadness of letting it go. Within just a few minutes of posting it, I received a text message from a very special friend with whom together, we attended Kindergarten and graduated high school. She and her husband were interested in the desk and wanted to know if they could come by and see it. Of course I was delighted and hopeful that they would love the old piece and give it a new home! I texted my friend, Tina and asked her what her idea was for the desk. She explained that she needed it for her computer workstation. I knew in my heart that she would take one look at the workspace and tell me it was too small. However, I always enjoy her company so I invited her over.
Deflated in spirit because I had already decided it was not going to be the perfect fit for her, I led Tina and her husband JimE to the corner where the old desk sat. She walked around a couple of times as she studied and discussed with JimE whether or not it would serve the intended purpose. I told her I didn’t think the small work area would accommodate her computer. She silently kept studying the front of the desk with the top rolled back. Reaching down, she pulled out a “hidden” desktop that slid from beneath. It was more than adequate for her computer. I was completely shocked with disbelief. The desk had gone mostly unnoticed and unused for so long and we had all accepted the fact that it wasn’t really good for anything, unaware that it had the extra pullout workspace. As a young girl growing up, I remember dusting it as part of one of my Saturday chores. To me, it was only good to collect dust and waste my playtime.
I helped Tina and JimE load the little desk for its new destination in their home in LaGrange, Texas. Sitting in the silence with my feet up and a cup of coffee in hand, I pondered how often so many of us settle for dust collecting when in fact, like the little old desk, we have other useful, God-given components hidden within us that are just waiting to be exposed, brought into sight and used for His eternal purpose and glory. I encourage you to shake the years of dust that has been collecting, reach deeply within your soul and find that hidden talent and purpose before you, as we all will eventually, vacate.