Something Old, Something New

I step inside and breath deeply the musty smell of old. I almost didn’t go in.

I sit out in the blue SUV, my hair fresh with new color from the beauty shop. The cowboy who does my color might mark me off his calendar if he knew I called it that. He prefers “hair concepts.”

Hair Concept day is my day. I love it. It is my indulgence. It’s an hour and half drive over to the salon. I slip in the DVD for Bible Study for next week. It gives me a chance to think and pray as I drive. I won’t be teaching but I’ll be writing journal prompts for my classes. I feel satisfaction that I am multi-tasking.

Antique shops are all around the town I visit every five to six weeks. Nothing demands my immediate attention so I decide to go for a browse before I make my way home.

Something about wondering around old things slows life down for me. I think it is the way an antique store is arranged that does it. The display of things in disarray causes the eye to have to focus, look top to bottom, the body to weave in and round to see the pieces of history scattered all around.

A tiny child-size grand piano, shiny black with twenty keys calls me to the tag. The grandbaby isn’t close to sitting on that little stool. I move on. I see memories, dishes that I once pulled out of my grandmother’s cabinets, those she collected out of laundry soapboxes. I see books. I have the urge to buy at least some as I ponder whether books with spines will be printed much longer.

I slow to it all and I let the things that remind me of my childhood bring my heart to thanksgiving to God. Ann Voskamp taught me this as she wrote of her journey to joy in One Thousand Gifts.

Checking for dovetails on the drawers of an oak desk, modern life brings my slowing to a halt.

My cell phone rings.

I answered knowing already whose digitized voice would be coming through the speaker. A few minutes earlier, my finger had pulled down the holes on the dial of an old table phone. I waited for the dial to reset between the numbers, pretending to call my childhood home. New phones identify their callers even before a word is spoken.

“Are you glad I called and didn’t text?” her first words.

I smile because she knows I only text because it has become necessary. I want to hear the voices of those I love and I love hers.

We catch up after weeks of me not hearing her voice. She fills me in on graduate school and papers that must be written, and most importantly, progress on wedding planning. I miss her but once again I give thanks, a lifting of my heart to the Grace God for allowing me friendship with this young woman. The girl, who with her best friend, made time for Bible study on Monday nights while literally working her way through college.

“I have wanted to ask you something since last February----and you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to---but this week I decided that I was going to ask you, ok?”

I couldn’t imagine Anna being intimidated about asking me anything.

“Ask,” I say. “You know, anything that I can do for you, I will.” My mind races thinking on what she might have needed since February.

“John and I want to add more Scripture to our wedding. I wanted to ask you if you might be willing to read a passage during the ceremony?”

She went on about why she was asking me to do this sacred reading---and soon tears started sliding down my cheeks, another gift. Joy tears. Ann would be happy that I am getting it, the practice of thanksgiving.

Anna and I said our good-byes while I stand in the midst of the old and she stands on the cusp of the new. My sweet young friend is marking off days until she wears the white dress, walks to her bridegroom, and blesses an old friend who will read from "the greatest story ever told" on her big day.

I leave empty-handed but not empty-hearted. My hair looks great but my face, a mess.


  1. I love how the past and the future come together! I like to look at antiques and wonder about the lives of those who bought it new.


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