Spread the Wealth
“I continue to be interested in new things that seem old and old things that seem new.”
Jacquelin T. Robertson
As you may remember, I run an eBay store for my son, Ian. I receive, list, ship and otherwise disperse merchandise—either to eBay buyers, the Bama Flea and Antique Mall, or to one of the many charity based thrift stores in my area. This week's trove is from an estate in an upscale suburb of Birmingham. What has so far been brought to me is the clothing and shoes of the woman of the the house, and wonder of wonders, her fabric collection!! For a quilt maker, that's like winning the lottery. This lady had very good taste, and so many pairs of shoes it's staggering. Lots and lots of satin covered pumps, Italian leather pumps, and elegant high heels, many never worn. There's a fifty-gallon bag entirely full of scarves, some at least five decades old, some with the tags still on them. So far, I have received five bags of her clothing and about six boxes of fabric. And, here's the thing, that's only about a tenth of what is coming from this lady's closets.
You may be wondering what on earth this has to do with spirituality, as well you should. For me, it is a way of acknowledging the life of the woman whose things I receive. For whatever time I have them, and as I clean, arrange, photograph, post and ship them, I am thinking about her—what was she like, what were her interests, was she happy? While wandering for days, and sometimes weeks through her personal belongings, I feel her kindred spirit, and I try to honor that. I share her belongings with folks who appreciate them, for whom they are new and prized. The thrift store I take most of our overload to is one that supports a shelter for battered women, so they will reap some of the benefits of this one woman's abundant life. It spreads her wealth to those who don't have any.
I also like to think I belong to a tribe that does not live in the throw-away culture. More and more, people are becoming aware of just how much we in the West receive, use, and toss everything from empty water bottles to microwave ovens. We have created an unsustainable mess, with bulging landfills and wasted resources. Just this week, I was walking beside a small park here in Birmingham, where three enormous wire cages were filled to the top with bags of trash. A sign said, “This is the litter cleaned up in 1 week from this park. We spend 1/3 of our resources cleaning up. Please don't litter.” Once again, consciousness is key. Everything we throw out a car window, or leave on a park bench, or set on the top of an already overflowing trash can, becomes someone else's problem to clean up, and disrespects the earth's resources.
A spiritual path is holistic. It considers what is good for the whole, and not simply what is convenient for the individual. This woman, who will ever remain unknown to me, will now share the blessings of her plentiful life with other women near and far. And I have the enviable position of dispersing it. What is old, will become new for a lot of people. For that I am grateful.
In the Spirit,