I was a “picker” before I knew what one was. A self-described junk lover, I have had a passion for all things vintage as long as I can remember. My fascination with the past and all the cool stuff from it eventually led me to start a business to indulge my craziness. Over the years I’ve acquired quite a collection of unique items and as a result – or perhaps in an effort to justify my continued collecting, I established a rental company so others could enjoy them too. With my business providing the excuse, I’m always on the lookout for items to add to my inventory. That generally means if there’s a flea market, auction, estate sale or rummage sale within a 50 miles radius, I’m there.
I’ve learned a little bit about a lot of things over the years. Some say just enough to be dangerous, but it has paid off. I once bought a watercolor at a thrift store because I knew the author’s work could be valuable. I spent $5.99 and later learned the work was original and worth almost $1800.
Yesterday found me in a similar situation. I stopped at a garage sale and was immediately drawn to a vintage suitcase covered with dust. When I picked it up to exam it more closely I discovered it was heavy and therefore must be full of something. I popped open the latches and peered inside. I saw stacks and stacks of newspaper and recognized famous headlines. The War had ended, Kennedy was killed, man landed on the moon, etc. Buried in the folds of the paper, however, I got a glimpse of a miniature black and white striped bathing suit that I knew (or thought) was just as famous.
When I closed the case and asked the owner what she wanted for it, I wondered if she’d mention the doll I saw. Instead, she launched into a speech trying to sell me on the merits of the newspapers. She didn’t really know how to price such a find she said, going on to tell me that these papers, saved by her aunt and uncle, created an invaluable time capsule that many would prize. About how she’d looked online and found many of these papers priced individually at $20. It was clear that she thought the true treasure was the newspapers and the rest could be dispensed without much fanfare. I told her I wasn’t really interested in the papers but asked her for a price on everything else. For $10, I walked away with the suitcase and my tiny treasure tucked inside.
At home, I began my search on Google and eventually uncovered what I thought I might find. I was in possession of a highly coveted and fairly rare original “#3 ponytail Barbie” manufactured in 1960. Garage sale lady would have to sell every paper in her pile to score the kind of money I could get from Barbie. The old adage “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure” was certainly applicable.
I repeated this saying later in the day while describing to a friend what had happened and it made me think of our Heavenly Father and His love for us. If we applied the same phrase to people it would probably look like this: “Even a man others consider junk is God’s treasure”. How true! How often do we view people in our daily lives and think they’re junk? Yet our Heavenly Father loves us all equally and unconditionally.
Two people looked into that suitcase and each saw something different. God, on the other hand, has the amazing ability to see it all. He sees the obvious value in us and also our hidden value and potential. So some days I’m the papers and other days I’m the Barbie, but either way I’m treasured and not junk. To be loved and valued . . . regardless of my true worth (which isn’t deserving of much) sure makes me glad I belong to God.