You know that little voice in your head that prompts you to do things? Sometimes, it’s hard to know what’s Spirit and what is flesh. For many months now, I keep hearing “Write.” I, of course, ask a zillion questions about what to write. “Just write,” is the returning answer. Seeing how these two words are not going away, I am dusting off this old blog. I have a lot of reservations about what I may end up saying. But if I am just to start writing, I might as well start with the lesson I’ve learned from owning a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.
I am a little weary tonight. Today, I spent hours cataloging items to post for sale on social media and Kijiji. I am thankful to God, that I have made quite a few sales. He is always good, though! Shortly before 8 pm, I was pacing back and forth in my living room. My 3 year old was already in bed. My 17 month old was still up. I held him on my hip. We both stared out the back window at the yard, and the park, and the street beyond. The sun was setting. I was not looking forward to this last transaction. I was fighting second thoughts as well as the temptation to give into self-pity. After planting a long kiss on my little guy’s cheek, I said to him, “I don’t want you to ever think that we are anything other than rich.” Compared to billions of other people on this planet, we are very rich indeed. I was trying to convince myself of this because it felt like the opposite. Let’s just say that I haven’t been selling things for extra spending money. As my husband and I are getting serious about being extracted from the current circumstance, it seemed like an appropriate time to sell the Kitchen Aid mixer.
The “we are rich” mantra helped me get through the exchange. I sold it for less than I wanted. I wanted to not sell it at all. The lady who came to collect it eyed me up and down as if I were a possible con artist. She seemed incredulous that there could be nothing wrong with the mixer. “Just accept you got a colossal deal and get out my house,” is what I wanted to say. Baby on my hip, cash in hand, I closed the door after she left. Despite myself, tears came. My flesh was entreating me to sit down and feel sorry for myself for awhile. Should I not feel wretched that it has come to this? For a moment, I entertained the idea of giving into that dull feeling in my stomach. Then I looked into my youngest’s sweet and honest face. Since his infancy, he has a manner of looking at me with such innocence that it pierces through any pretension that I may have unearthing the truth.
How could I feel bad about what had just happened? How many women are out there who have sold their actual child (no less sweeter or precious than mine) in exchange for money or food? That is what real lack looks like. I am blessed beyond measure that I had an appliance I could sell used for $150. How many mothers out there have handed over their young to a stranger for less money than I received for that mixer?! I do not actually have a statistic to insert here. Let’s be honest though, any number above zero is obscene. This thought sobered me instantly. “We are rich.” I said again. Now that I could put my baby to bed, I rocked him in the most comfortable chair in the world. Seriously, I slept 6 straight hours in it once. Looking at my youngest boy, I felt a peace. I knew I had done the right thing. I began to recall how I came to get the mixer in the first place. Despite the fact that this appliance is the most coveted item on a typical wedding registry, I never wanted it. I was actually angry when it was given to me.
It was my 20th birthday and I was anxious. My father was coming over. My parents had separated a few months earlier. I had been avoiding him as best as I could. The dread of his attendance was coupled with irksome news that he was bringing a gift. My mother knew about it and was trying to prepare me. “It better not be something big or expensive!” This wasn’t said out of pretence. I meant it. I wanted nothing from him. He arrived while I was in my room. After a few deep breaths, I walked down the hall into the living room. There it was. A big wrapped box was waiting for me in front of the couch. Every muscle in my body reacted to the frustration I was feeling. Of course, the Kitchen Aid mixer is a marvellous appliance. It eventually became the piece de resistance of my kitchen for many years. At that moment, though, the sight of it angered me. I knew that this gift, charged no doubt on a department store credit card, was purchased with the design of purchasing me. It was to buy back my time, my affection, my good opinion. None of these things were for sale. To avoid leaving an impression that I was spoiled or ungrateful, I should explain what had happened 5 months before my birthday.
We have moments that change us. No one is exempt from this. Sometimes the moments are good, and other times they are bad. The goal is that if our mind and outlook are to be unavoidably altered, pray God that it be to our benefit and that of others. This was a bad moment.
It was on a sunny Tuesday when my mother and I learned that his pornography addiction had gotten out of control. I was still asleep when the cops showed up at our home with a search warrant. Who needs coffee with a wake up call like that? He was formally charged a few weeks later. It should be clear now as to why I looked at this extravagant birthday gift with contempt.
Life has many recurring themes coursing through it. Tonight, I was twice given the sobering reminder of how poorly the rest of the world lives. Twelve years ago, a mixer was purchased by a man, who had immersed himself into the realm of child exploitation, with the hope that he could redeem himself in his daughter’s eyes. Today, it was sold by a woman, who was blessed to not have to immerse herself into the realm of child exploitation, with the confidant expectation that she will always be able to provide for her family.
There is not a single doubt in my mind that my Abba God cares about our cares. He values the most trivial things that matter to us. This almost made me cancel the sale tonight. I equally know that God doesn’t want us to put too high of a value on our possessions; for where our treasure is, there our heart is also.
I follow Kristen Welch from the We Are That Family blog. I also sponsor one of the girls at the Mercy House (a blessed organization that she founded). Here is a woman of God who will challenge you in your outlook on life. I appreciate and admire her passion and message! This may seem like a random plug, but if you visit her website, you will not only see the connection but be inspired.