• 55°

Saving the best for someone else

I can go through my house and pull the best towels out of the linen closets, the best comforters out of cupboards, the best dishes off of top shelves and the best silverware out of the box that is never opened. Today, I started down a different road.

Several months ago on one of my “prowls,” I happened on a beautiful set of crystal glasses of all shapes and sizes. The entire set looked as if it had never been used. The pieces were badly in need of washing but were perfect otherwise. Something about those glasses made me sad. In my imagination I could see some little woman putting away her best china and her best crystal, rarely, if ever, to be used. Then I imagined her passing away and leaving a house full of memories and unused treasures for her children to go through.

In my mind, this is how such a beautiful set of cut crystal glasses came to the Methodist Mission Thrift store. There was something special about those glasses and I bought them at their bargain price. It was an impulse that I don’t usually follow, but I took the glasses home with me, like brand new, and stored them on garage shelves. I didn’t have cabinet space for them along with all my every day glassware.

I’m not sure why the glasses got my attention today, when I had no need of fancy glasses, or thoughts of them. But passing by the shelves in the basement it hit me right between the eyes that I was doing the exact same thing as the previous owner of the glasses. I had stored them out of sight, safely packed away, as if they were too good for me to use and enjoy myself.

This evening I cleared out all my ordinary glassware, wrapped them individually and packed them for storage in the basement. Then I brought the elegant glasses and stemware up to the dishwasher. They will soon fill my cabinet.

Poverty mentality is a wicked thing. Am I not special enough to drink out of my best glasses, eat off of my loveliest plates, sleep under my finest bedding, or dry off on my best towels? I know the old traditions we honor in the mountains say that we save our best for guests. In reality, how often do guests come? We live amongst our own buried treasures. Why should we not use them and enjoy them? Why should we not enjoy the “best” of which God has blessed us? To leave such things stored, boxed up, and out of sight is as useless as not having them at all. Then we die and someone else carries them away.

I don’t care if I break every single glass over the next 40 years from using it and wearing it out. My belongings are meant to serve me and not the other way around. If a beautiful glass to hold my iced tea or breakfast juice adds a smile to my day now, it is one I will not miss when I’m in my coffin.

I do a lot of reflection at the beginning of each new year. I try to be still and listen for the voice of God to point me in a direction or prepare me for the days ahead in the coming year. This lesson is not one I anticipated, but I am so very thankful that I’ve let a chamber of my heart open and am embrace a new attitude that will allow me to enjoy the little treasures in my life and bring them out of hiding. My very best only has value if it is useful and enjoyed.

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Judith Victoria Hensley at judith99@bellsouth.net or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.