When I first saw our new couch, sitting in the back room of the thrift store, I knew that I wanted it, but thought, “You don’t need another couch. You have no room for another couch. The couches you have are fine.” All of this was true, but our white couch had gotten really shabby (due to its many washings) after Esther’s mystery illness last year. I hadn’t been looking for another, but there it was in front of me.
I sat on it, and it was really comfortable. I smelled it, and it smelled just fine. I looked it over, and the only thing I saw that gave a hint about its former owner, was a little scratched-up area on both arms, which made me smile since I knew that she (I figured that this couch must have been owned by a woman) had cats.
So I picked up the cushion (with the $60.00 price tag attached to it), brought it to the desk, told them that I wanted to buy it, and asked if they could hold it while I ran to the ATM to get the cash. But even on my drive there, I had to fight back the critical little voice that told me I was being extravagant. It seemed so ridiculous (because by any standards, $60.00 for this very well-made couch, was more like the deal of the century) but at the time, some part of me was not going to let me enjoy this, as it nagged with critical thoughts like, “You should be saving your money. How are you going to get it home (25 miles away)? What will Jack say about another couch? What if you really don’t like the floral pattern after you get it home…?”
But we did get it home. And we all (including Jack) love it.
Sometimes, no, I would say virtually every time, that I have stretched myself to do something new, I’ve had to push past an invisible barrier that seems to have one task: Keeping everything the same. It’s language is stern, and its one message of fear seems to be, ” Do not do it. You might regret it”. And yet, I never have regretted it.
When I went to work in a mission, years ago, I gave almost everything that I owned away, and the same thoughts were there. And yet I never regretted it.
I hope someday to lose this voice of fear, but if I don’t…. OK. But I won’t let it stop me. I would prefer to live with the thought that I did something foolish (thinking it was a good thing) then to live a partial life, being controlled by the thought of some future regret.
“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” Voltaire