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Published: 01 June 2011
Sometimes, I marvel at the kindness of others.
Years ago, my father sold my childhood home, and though I was married and no longer living there, I was crushed by his decision. My husband and I had hoped to save enough money to purchase the home, but my father's sudden decision to privately sell the house put an abrupt and definite end to my dream. I adored that house, a 1920s colonial with simple architecture that belied the warmth and character within. I was forced to accept that I would never serve dinner upon the antique dining room table I so loved, never plant roses in the little backyard, never again sit in “daddy's chair” in the living room. I know it sounds silly, but when I closed the front door behind me for the very last time, I bid the house goodbye, and prayed that it would embrace its new family the same way it had embraced me.
Fast forward more years than I care to count. My sister, our kids, and I were visiting our old neighborhood when we saw a young man on the front lawn of “our” house. We approached him; he went inside and told the owner that previous residents were outside. The owner, a lovely lady named Muriel, invited us in, showed us around “our” house, and pointed out changes she had made. The walls were different colors than we remembered. The kitchen was larger, modern. The hardwood floors and french doors had been refinished. The apple tree in the yard had been removed to make room for a pool. The antique dining room set had been replaced, though Muriel displayed the antique buffet server from the set in her living room.
Standing again in the home that I so loved as a child moved me to tears. It was wonderful to “feel” the house again, even more wonderful to meet Muriel and realize for the first time that my prayer had been answered. Muriel was loving, kind, family-oriented, and greatly appreciative of the colonial home in which she had raised her family. I left my childhood home that day grateful to her for the visit and content in knowing that the 1920s colonial was not “my” house, but hers.
Fast forward even more years. While playing around on the internet, I came across a real estate listing for a colonial for sale...Muriel's home. The idea that Muriel was leaving the house was disconcerting, but I wrote to Muriel and offered to purchase the antique that had once been my mother's. To my utter surprise, Muriel called immediately to tell me the listing was an error, her home was not for sale, but she would give me my mother's server.
Talk about random acts of kindness! Muriel's generosity is overwhelming. Because of her hospitality years before, I learned that my father had sold my childhood house to someone who truly cherished it, and now, because of Muriel's generosity, a little “piece” of my mother has been returned to me. My mother's antique buffet server, circa 1924, now sits against the wall in my living room, and whenever I pass it, I remember my beloved mom and the blissful childhood she created for my sister and me in that beautiful colonial – Muriel's home. I also think of Muriel, smile, and marvel at how the good Lord takes care of everything in His own time. I no longer pine for my childhood home. The house is where it should be, in Muriel's hands. Through Muriel, God gave me back a memory of my mother that I will always, always cherish.
Yes, indeed. I marvel at Muriel's kindness!