Friday, September 23, 2011

Life on my own #11: Generosity

If I’ve learned anything since moving out of my parents’ house and into my very own apartment, it’s this: Anyone and everyone is interested in the minute details of your living arrangements, to a degree not seen in their interest in any other area of your life. I hypothesize that it’s just because everyone remembers the excitement of moving into their own space back when they were young and carefree.

So when I mentioned to friends at church (who were my parents’ age) that I had found an apartment of my own and would be moving out, I got all sorts of questions. Where? What’s it like? Is it anywhere near insert-location-where-person-used-to-live-or-work?

But above all, people asked, “is there anything you need?”

And to tell the truth, I was already pretty well off. I had my grandmother’s Revereware pots and pans and even her Corelle dinnerware and Corningware casserole dishes. My parents had given me permission to abscond with a bunch of their furniture too, either stuff I was already using (like my bed) or stuff that was taking too much room in Dad’s den. Dad didn’t even like the old file cabinet that opens from the top and it’s quite a serviceable TV stand. Except that I have to put the TV on it catty-cornered because the base is wider than the cabinet. Not that big a deal.

All that, plus a few items I’d collected during my college days, made me think I was only missing a few things… well, few in number, anyway. I realized I had no place to store my clothes, besides the closet; nowhere to sit besides this one green chair that had sat in my dad’s den for my whole life; and nowhere to plug the DVD player into, though I did, indeed, have a hand-me-down DVD player already.

Parts of my life make sense, but that DVD player isn’t one of those parts.

There were so many people asking me if I needed anything, I began casually mentioning one or two of the items I was lacking. You’re so kind, I’ve got just about everything except a can opener, maybe a pack of lightbulbs, and oh yeah, a dresser. Nothing much.

No joke—friends of mine really did give me a dresser, one of those long kinds with the mirror attached. But it started with my uncle’s wonder-find at the thrift store: a KitchenAid stand mixer that he couldn’t pass up for the price. He and my grandpa made graduation the excuse to give it to me.

Then an aunt donated five old fold-up wooden chairs to the Sarah Needs To Furnish Her Home foundation. The foundation received another boost when one of my new co-workers surprised me with a beautiful set of bath towels snuggled into a coordinating urn. She had already found out my favorite color by watching that every single shirt I work to work that week was… hey now, that’s for her to know and you to find out!

I thought I was already lucky, but it didn’t stop there. The uncle responsible for the KitchenAid later gave me a full-size bookcase and some sort of tall table-like object that I use as a microwave stand. Oh yes, and two area rugs. Another aunt donated a set of kitchen knives and later a set of steak knives, good quality, along with the wooden blocks to store them in.

Then there was the surprise housewarming shower the ladies’ Bible study threw for me. They conspired with Mom to bring me a car load of goodies for my kitchen, and amazingly enough they duplicated just one item I already had—a cutting board. And who doesn’t need another cutting board?

OK, maybe a single gal living without a roommate doesn’t need another cutting board. New topic please.

So I got oodles of canned food and Ziploc baggies from that shower, and even some of my favorite toothpaste. You know the kind that tastes like cinnamon and is all red? That kind. Nope, doesn’t have a name, it’s just “the kind that tastes like cinnamon and is all red.” All the stores carry it.

The generosity hasn’t quite yet abated. One woman recently asked me if I needed a crock pot. She had like four of them and wanted to pawn them off on someone less inundated with them. Why yes, I’m very happy to relieve you of such a burden.

I’m extremely grateful for the generosity of my friends. Sometimes I start to think I’m taking advantage of their bounty, but then I decide that, someday, I’m going to be able to help them out when they need it. That’s what friends are for, right? So I receive in the season of gifts, with as much grace and gladness as I’m capable of, and a time will come when it’s the season to give back. It’s been a lesson in receiving graciously, I guess.

Thanks, friends. You’ve been very good to me, and I can only hope to show you, in the future, how grateful I am for your kindness.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Hi, Sarah! I liked this entry! I remember my first apartment, when I was on the receiving end! Now, like your Mom and Dad, Norm and I are on the giving end! When you get to a "certain age", you realize you really don't need all the stuff you thought you needed! And it is so fun when I offer something to someone (like a one-cup coffeemaker recently), and it was just the thing they had been looking for, but hadn't been able to find a good-priced one (the only ones they could find were those coffeemakers with the little pods that cost so much!) And it is such a good feeling to give something to someone that is really needed! So keep on thanking the donors and enjoying your bounty! You are helping them, too! Thanks for sharing your life in this blog! God's blessings to you in your new little home! Love, Carol

Sarah said...

Thanks for your note, Carol! Glad to see you're still reading here every once in a while. I'm about to reply to your e-mail as well. :)