Once upon a time there was a family.
Not just a regular, run-of-the-mill family, but a special family.
A dad with two young kids and a new step-mother. The two small children spent part-time with their dad and step-mom, every other weekend and one week day. Yet, events became such that the young couple received custody of the two young minors in a single day.
To say it was shocking would have been a gross understatement. The couple lived in a one-bedroom apartment.
Immediately plans were put into motion to move said belongings from the one-bedroom apartment to a larger unit that would aptly occupy the two newest residents – a 5-year old son, and a 4-year old daughter.
In a matter of weeks, the family found themselves in a larger two-bedroom spot, where the brother and sister shared a room.
Since this young, recently married couple were just starting out their life, they barely had two nickles to rub together, and now were frantically trying to furnish a festive bedroom – welcoming and cozy enough to please the newest residents.
Items were purchased inexpensively at garage sales, second-hand stores, and any discount outlet they could find. Initially, it was a “camping” style arrangement with sleeping bags placed upon the floor until refurbished mattresses and frames could be purchased.
A friend of a friend of the couple came to the rescue, offering a few pieces of furniture, a small writing desk and a chest of drawers – free for the taking. The couple was so pleased, they made arrangements to pick up the goods, sight unseen, grateful for the donation.
Upon arrival at the giver’s home, the new step-mom was shocked to see the two lovely pieces awaiting them in the driveway. Both pieces of furniture appeared brand new, and sat adorned in a white-wash finish with hand-painted flowers gently sprawling across the top, just below the fine, detail of dental molding.
The pieces were of obvious quality, and the step-mother muttered to the donor, “Are you sure we can’t pay you something for this?”
Her request was met with a firm nod and a raised-hand – stopping her from any further rebuttal.
As the young couple drove away, waving and thanking the friends of friends for their kindness, the step-mother had tears in her eyes. In their moment of need, someone had given openly to them – expecting nothing in return.
As the family moved from the two-bedroom apartment to their first home, and second home, the little desk and chest of drawers were included in the mix. For years that chest of drawers housed clothing – from kindergarten to junior high attire, and the writing desk was the recipient of homework by all the children of the home.
As the young girl slowly grew into a young teenager, and the family was blessed with abundance, they were able to purchase a larger, more “grown-up” set of furniture for their daughter.
The original set had grown tired and had initials, hearts, and flowers carved into the top of the writing desk, along with random stickers and stray marks from a wayward glitter pen, or the deadly permanent marker. And certainly wads of gum were stuck somewhere hidden from view.
Hinges on the chest of drawers had been repaired and reattached more times than were countable, and one of the drawers had finally broken in the back after years and years of opening and closing.
As the step-mother arranged the room with the new furniture, she felt a tug at the heart-strings over the two pieces of furniture that graced them when they needed them most. Now that their need had passed, she wondered if there was a needy family nearby.
Then, she got an idea.
They lived on a fairly busy street with plenty of local residential traffic. Often times she has seen folks with items for sale while driving by. In fact, one time, she sold an industrial garage shelf stand after only 20 minutes in the driveway with a “For SALE” sign perched atop.
With help from no one, she dragged the little white-washed writing desk and chest of drawers with hand-painted floral design sketched along the top, to the curb in front of her home. Next to it she placed a hand-drawn cardboard sign announcing, “FREE to good home.”
She walked back into the house and closed the front door.
It was the “Circle of Life” for that furniture – the little writing desk and chest of drawers. They had come into their lives when needed most and after more than a decade, the little writing desk and chest of drawers were free for the taking. She hoped the pieces would find solace with a new family in need.
About 20 minutes later, the Step-mother drew back the front window curtains, and in the spot where the furniture had sat, was empty except for hand-written card-board sign, which remained on the curb.
The step-mom sighed and smiled, hoping that the new family – whoever they were – would feel as blessed as she had when that little writing desk and chest of drawers had come into their lives so many years ago.
The “Circle of Life” had morphed into the “Circle of Giving” and for that, the step-mother felt at peace.