Artist’s Lane: Restricted by your own affections

By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist

Our neighbor advertised a garage sale to start at 8 a.m. That morning, my Sweet Al and I were enjoying our morning coffee and quiet time with the Lord when a woman drove up in a big truck. 

It was 7:15 a.m. and the persona non grata was as angry as a wet hen. She had come to the wrong house as there were no signs directing her otherwise. Our brief interaction that morning was more about how our neighbor had done her wrong because they were not ready for her, yet nothing was said about how she interrupted our peaceful morning. 

Was the early bird with poor navigation skills expecting balloons and a welcome banner?

I said to Al, “It’s just a garage sale, why was that woman so angry? What’s going on with people today?” 

I’m not sure if I have ever become upset, especially with a total stranger, over something that wasn’t mine, something that I thought I had to have. Have we forgotten that our very breath is a gift that has been given to us?

You have, I want. What a coincidence. Unfortunately, there is no such word as “coincidence” in the Hebrew language. You won’t even find the word “have” in Hebrew. 

Things are appointed to us for a reason, God’s reason. We have nothing unless it comes to us. 

This idea changed my heart and the way I look at things. It is only when something has been given to that it then belongs to us. 

We don’t even get to have the sun. It comes for us to bask in its warmth and light, then is taken away until such a time as it can be given to us again. 

Paraphrasing Paul’s words in a letter to the Corinthians, he says, we came with our hearts open to you, and have spoken openly to you. You are not restricted, unless by your own affections. As poor, we become rich. As we have nothing, we possess all things.

Paul’s words tell us that all things have been given to us. In fact, it is only by what we think we have that restricts us. And that is something that we do to ourselves. 

The early rising “garage sale lady” acted like the morning and everything in it belonged to her. I assume that she expected even the neighbors to bow at her command. Had she relaxed and waited for things to come to her, I’m certain things would have played out differently. 

Final brushstroke: Over the years, there were times when I felt like I had to have something. I certainly hope I didn’t impose my wants, however, on the unsuspecting around me. When I think about it, it is in the times that I stopped wanting that I received more than I could have ever needed. It is during those same times that I discovered peace that could be shared, even more so accepted. 

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This story was posted on October 12, 2020.