Spiritual Encouragement by Way of the Material

June 2, 2012

As everyone who follows this blog knows, I am involved in the extensive remodeling of a sadly neglected old home.  Work on the house has focused on cleaning and rebuilding thus far and both have required more work than we anticipated - and we anticipated a lot.  Working long hours and seeing not a lot of measurable progress has been stressful for everyone.

I bought the house in a little over a month ago and I took my first break Monday to go to an auction in search of furniture.  It was a long auction and hot and I have to say that didn't enjoy it at all.  There was a chair there I loved - an old Morris chair in need of repair - and it would have been perfect for my new under-construction living room. I regretted having given up on it so easily.  

In the wake of the house purchase and paying for repairs we could not do ourselves, there is no money for retail furnishings.  I had firmly decided, however, that it would be silly to go the expensive and labor of moving our old worn out living room set.  I needed new inexpensive furnishings.  And I did not have the time to go from auction to auction hunting down bargains.  I had not only wasted an opportunity but an entire morning as well.  I felt inordinately disappointed.

Suddenly and inexplicably everything seemed insurmountable.  My new home was a mess and I wasn't sure I had the fortitude to finish what I'd begun.  I had started out with such high hopes.  Now every issue with the house was proving more difficult than I had anticipated.  Why is it, I asked myself, that things never work out?

I left the auction dispirited with a colonial (mahogany) secretary desk which did not match any of my existing furniture and a dark cloud hanging over my head.    I felt quite ready to give up on everything even though this was not possible.  

The following evening there was another auction, however, one I did not normally attend.  I was still down but I had regrouped enough to give it chance.  My partner and I walked around and looked at the furniture, writing down what we were willing to spend and vowing to stick to it. The same strategy which had lost me the Morris chair but a necessary one.

Unlike the first auction, this one was a success.  We were able to win every item on our list without going over our allotted budget on a single item.  We were now the proud owners of a camel back sofa in the exact style I had hoped for, two plum colored overstuffed easy chairs (in the very shade I had wanted to use in the new living room) and a beautiful colonial mahogany canopy bed and dresser which could have been carved from the same tree as our secretary.

I am not ordinarily a materialistic person but taking these new pieces of furniture to our new still uncompleted house was  incredibly reaffirming.  Looking at our new living 'set' swaddled in sheets, it occurred to me just how well things had worked out.  I had missed out on the Morris chair, yes, but as a direct result I had netted everything I needed to fill up our new living room and furnish a new bedroom as well.  What's more the house now looked like it could be home - with just a little more work.

I don't particularly believe in the spiritual route to material success and I don't think that the powers that be care about the size of my TV or the shine on my car or the numbers I write in my checkbook.  I do think, however, that I was in desperate need of a bit of encouragent.  And that it was no accident that I received it.

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