Those who know me well know that I am a very sentimental person. Growing up, I would treasure any item someone gave me – even from the most minute one – as if it were gold. Since childhood, I have collected what my mama always termed “dust collectors.” They are small items – such as ceramic figurines or tiny trinkets. I kept most of my collection on three small wooden shelves in my hallway.
From time to time I would move them to dust or move the items around, grouping them in a way that made sense to me. Included in my collection were very sentimental things like a statue of a Japanese fisherman, the last birthday present my godfather had given me as a teenager; a patchwork duck from Amsterdam that my friend, Helen, had sent from a trip there; a ceramic baby cardinal that I had bought for my mama the first Christmas I had a “real” job; and a ceramic statue of a girl dancing in a long white skirt, the only item that I have, other than three or four letters, that Papaw Hughes had given me.
Also on the shelves was a collection of shot glasses from various Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Café restaurants I have visited throughout the years and other knickknacks that most folks would consider worthless, but I treasured.
Folks familiar with my home had learned to walk around the shelves. From time to time someone would bump into it or knock an item off onto the floor with little damage resulting from the accident. Needing some sprucing up, I’d hired a guy I attend church with to do some minor repairs and improvements to my home. He started Monday and although I moved a few things around for him, I pretty much left things that weren’t in the rooms he was working in the way they are.
Wednesday night I got home from work and noticed the shelves were no longer hanging on my hallway wall. That concerned me a little, especially when I began looking for the items that sat on the shelves. Finally I located a small box with items in it. Emptying the box, I began to realize that many of my most treasured items were missing. Investigating further, I found them … in the trashcan, smashed to small pieces.
To say I was upset was an understatement. Although I know in my heart the man working on my house would never have damaged anything on purpose, it hurt that he didn’t call me to tell me what had happened. Or even leave a note, for that matter. He just swept up the destruction and tossed it in the trashcan. I sobbed while looking at that mess of broken treasures. All that was left of the Japanese figurine was his head. The cardinal was unrecognizable to anyone who didn’t know it ever sat on one of the shelves. All but one of the shot glasses was shattered.
Mandi called me on her way home from church and I was not consolable over the phone. I kept naming to her all the stuff that was lost and it would make me cry harder. In an effort to stop the tears, she finally got me started talking about something else. Since I didn’t see pieces of the little girl in the white dress in the trash, I began thinking that I had moved her from the shelves and forgotten about it. I walked from room to room looking at every possible spot I would of put her. But the little glass doll wasn’t there.
As a step of precaution, I moved some irreplaceable items to the extra bedroom where the door was remaining closed during the renovation work. Deciding to take one final sweep of my house in search of my treasured doll, I found nothing. So I sat down, attempted to watch TV and mourned the loss of my stuff. I realize stuff is simply that … stuff. But it was my stuff. And I was heartbroken. Even “Criminal Minds” couldn’t hold my attention away from the loss.
So I gave up and got ready for bed. After brushing my teeth, I realized I had left the light on in the living room. Walking through the door, a glint of white caught my eye. There, perched precariously on a table, was that little white doll. Although most folks would say I had just overlooked her, I can say honestly that she hadn’t been there five minutes before. I know this because I looked on that table twice. And the manner in which she was placed was too temporary.
My conclusion is obvious. God put that object there just for me. He, in His infinite wisdom, knew I didn’t need to end the day in restless, mournful sleep. So, instead I went to sleep knowing that the God who keeps the universe in motion took a moment out of time to give me back a treasure. Although it truly impresses me to know He can do major things like part a sea to allow people to cross on dry land, it’s those smaller, more personal things God does that get my attention the most.