It was Christmastime, I was about eight, and I had added a specific watch pendant to my Christmas wish list. When Christmas morning arrived, I kept my eye out for the pendant I so hoped I would find under the tree. I had opened all of my gifts, or so I thought, but it was not to be found. Then I saw a small box that had been hidden behind the tree. I opened it slowly, hoping beyond hope that my little necklace would be inside. As I wrapped it, I found what was clearly a jewelry box, YES! But the watch pendant I requested was not inside.
In its place, however; was a pendant made from a little gold turtle with jewels on his shell. (It was probably gold-filled, and the jewels may have been colored glass, but I didn't care.) When I bent back the turtle's head, his shell popped open to reveal a beautiful little clock. I remember my dad's delight as I reveled in my new prize. He said, "You asked for one thing, but what you got was something much better."
So what the turtle taught me is that when I don't get what I want, often I get something even better. This little lesson has stuck with me over the years.
So fast forward to my recent search on Craigslist for a French settee and two chairs for our new house. I know, I know, I wasn't going to buy anything yet, but you know how it is, if you see what you want for a good price, you better grab it because it won't be there tomorrow.
I recently found that kind of deal, a settee and two French chairs for $175 on Craigslist. They needed an overhaul of paint and slipcovers or re-upholstery but I knew they had great potential. So I made contact with the owner. The furniture was actually an hour away from our house, so I would not be able to get over there for several days. The seller said that would be okay; he would hold them for me. In fact, in talking to the seller, I found out that he was our country neighbor and had been to our property before.
A few days later an amazing set showed up on Craigslist even better than the first. It cost more, but was still an incredible deal considering the quality of the pieces. They were very shabby but in a good way. I was very tempted, but I had given my word that I would buy the first set. I knew this perfect set would sell within hours, but I chose to let it go, because I had made a commitment.
I was scheduled to pick up the cheaper settee set on Saturday, but on the Thursday evening before, I got an email saying the set of furniture I was planning to buy had been sold. The owner also mentioned that the new buyer offered him $100 more than he had been asking. I was upset. So now I had lost both sets, the first one, because the seller, MY neighbor, didn't honor his commitment to me, and the second set because I didn't grab it right away. So now I had neither set. I was a little cranky truth be told. I really couldn't believe a neighbor had done that.
As I was hosting a major pity party, my family began to tiptoe around me, wondering when the chill would thaw. For a person who likes just about anyone, I found myself, well... not liking this guy. A few hours later, I admitted to myself that I REALLY DISLIKED HIM. My normal happiness and joy were gone, and in their place was a general yuckiness.
I was miserable, and I knew what I had to do. It was time for me to have a little conversation with myself. Here's basically how it went.
Me - It's gone, sold, done. Maybe the buyer couldn't normally afford something like this, and it was a huge blessing to him or her. Maybe she's a blogger and this will be the crowing jewel of her house. (I can relate to that.) AND maybe the seller was in desperate need of money. Maybe he truly thought you wouldn't match that higher price. Besides you've forgiven much worse than this before, shoot you've DONE worse than this. And, at the end of the day, this is just furniture.
The other Me - Ouch, who's side are you on any way? Okay I'm going to forgive this guy not because I think he was right, but because I don't like being miserable.
I needed to get on with my life. Being mad wasn't hurting him; it was hurting me. I FORGAVE him, and by doing so I released myself from a self-imposed prison. I felt happy again, and my dislike was morphing into compassion. He was probably a nice guy who did what he felt he had to do.
Now I felt better, but there was still the matter of my missing settee and chairs. Then I remembered what the turtle taught me. Even though I had wanted one thing, I KNEW I would get something better, although it might require some heavenly assistance, and lots of patience. I had plenty of time.
The next day, I began to look on Craigslist again to see if anything new had come up, hey you never know, right? After looking through the most current listings I found the listing for that perfect set again. The listing hadn't been deleted. Was it possible? Was it still available? I called the number. A man answered and said that there had been a lot going on in his life, and that although he had gotten many emails about the furniture, he had not been able to get back with anyone, so the set was still available. I set up an appointment for the next day. He told me he would notify the others that the set was sold. SCORE!!
When I arrived, the set was perfect, well not perfect, but perfect for me. It was old, very old, the paint was chipping off, the tapestry on the settee was worn in places, but it looked amazingly beautiful to me. The tapestry on the settee was original, but the chairs had been reupholstered in a soft blue. They wouldn't need a thing.
Then I asked about if there was flexibility on the price. (It doesn't hurt to ask.) He said he was actually selling the set for someone else (and not making any money on the deal) and could go $75 less. In the end, I bought the "perfect" set for a fabulous price, and the best part was the pieces don't need a thing. Even at auction, I would have paid much more for these pieces. As a side note, I did offer the gentleman some money to compensate him for his time, but he wouldn't accept it.
In the end, I'm very grateful for what I learned from my little turtle.
MERRY CHRISTMAS DEAR FRIENDS!!!!!
MAY YOU FIND NOT WHAT YOU ASKED FOR IN LIFE, BUT SOMETHING MUCH BETTER!
Here's a list of the parties that I visit on a regular basis. I might have shared this link at any number of these.