The week between Christmas and New Year’s was spent moving furniture, tearing out old carpet, and stirring up dust. Not exactly my idea of a relaxing holiday break. But right now, I’m sitting in my beautiful, newly-carpeted bedroom, feeling like a queen. So I guess it was worth it.
I got my carpet installed for $2.00. Yes, you read that right. Two. Dollars. Home Depot was running a special back before Thanksgiving. They’d install the carpet in my whole house for two dollars. All I had to buy was the carpet and padding. Oh, and I had to move all the furniture out of the rooms and rip out all the old carpet and padding and dispose of it myself.
It sounded like a great deal in the store.
Moving furniture out of three bedrooms and into different rooms in the house doesn’t leave much space for walking. Plus, when I removed the drawers from all the dressers and chests of drawers, I found layers of dust so thick I could have added a little water and used it to paint my house. If anyone’s in the market for several gallons of dusty-gray paint, I can hook you up.
But the cool thing about such an extensive project is you never know what you’re going to stir up. Other than dust. You won’t believe the cool stuff I found while getting ready for the carpet guys to come.
First, as I was excavating the dust in my dresser hull, I found a ring my parents gave me in high school. It was a James Avery band designed like a Treble Clef, with the notes to Amazing Grace floating around my finger. It must have fallen back behind a drawer at some point, and now it was caked with a heavy layer of dirt. But it cleaned and polished right up, and put a smile on my face. What a sweet memory.
The next thing I found was in my daughter’s room. The carpet and padding were ripped back to reveal the imprints of Live Oak leaves, all over the cement. It must have been springtime when our home’s foundation was laid, because there were those leaves, or at least their shapes—every ridge, every vein, every imperfection—etched into the concrete, all over the floor. What fun! Who knew, all these years there was a work of art hiding under the dingy carpet.
The last room I did was my closet. It’s connected to my master bath, so I had to haul all the stuff out of there. Much of it landed in my bathtub. Then, when the floor was clear, we ripped back the carpet and padding. And you won’t believe what we found, way back in the far corner.
Yes, sir-ree. Artfully designed into the home’s foundation was a safe. It looked to be locked. My heart pounded so fast it had to make imprints on my sweatshirt as I waited for my friend to find tools to pick or break the lock. What could be in there? My mind reeled with possibilities, and I started my checklist of the things I planned to do with my newly-found $50,000 cash.
Turns out it wasn’t locked at all, just jammed with years of dormancy. We pried the door open with a screwdriver and watched as the contents were revealed. Inside that safe was—you’re not going to believe this but it’s true—inside the safe was . . .
A paper clip and an empty prescription bottle for Tagamet.
Believe me. I opened that prescription bottle and turned it every which way, hoping diamonds or rubies would fall out.
Nothin’ but air.
I thought about telling the carpet guys to leave the carpet loose in that corner, so I could use the safe. But then I remembered that I know about the safe. Each of the previous two owners knows about the safe. The carpet guys would know about the safe. And since I was pretty sure I was going to tell all of you in this article . . . I figured that was one safe that wasn’t very safe. So if you’re planning to break into my house to steal my valuables, don’t waste your time. As far as monetary value goes, all I’ve got is a paper clip and a bottle of air.
I learned an important lesson, though. My carpets were dirty. Nasty. Old. Damaged. But if they hadn’t been so bad, I wouldn’t have replaced them. And I would never have found that awesome safe. I probably wouldn’t have found my ring. And I definitely wouldn’t have seen the breathtaking leaves etched into the cement. They were there all along . . . I just didn’t know it.
Sometimes bad things have to happen in order for us to make needed changes. Dirty, nasty, damaging things. But when we gather the courage to make changes, we never know what kinds of amazing, beautiful things may be revealed, just below the surface.
“He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted . . . to comfort all who mourn . . . to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes . . . and a garment of praise instead of despair.” Isaiah 61:1-3.