As we walked through the isles of a dollar store last week, my eye caught a shiny mylar balloon. Instead of floating high, it was hovering about 10″ above the floor with its ribbon coiled below. As people walked through the store, the balloon, obviously low in helium, slowly bobbed along without any purpose or diretion. It struck me as sad – a balloon is meant to bring cheer and enjoyment, but this one was no longer like that. Other balloons had been picked and taken to parties or celebrations, but not this one.
I thought more about the scene and wondered why the image stuck with me and I realized that I could relate to the balloon. While we are not as exhausted as we were when we first returned to the USA, sometimes we are reminded that we are still feeling ‘low on helium’ and sometimes find it takes extra effort to do pretty normal things.
The month of March will bring a number of visitors to our house, so I have been trying to get the guestroom ready. I purchased some curtains at a Salvation Army that needed adjustments to fit in windows in the guest room. I was dreading taking on the project which would require pulling out my sewing machine, measuring, and making a plan of how much to shorten them, etc. It sounded like more energy than I had, but one day, I decided it just needed to be done.
After rallying the energy, I pulled out the sewing machine and found a place to set it up. It hadn’t been used for at least 5 years, so I opened it up and generously applied sewing machine oil to the gears and let it sit. The next day, I plugged it in and stepped on the foot pedal. A purring noise came from the motor but the gears were unmoving and even a gentle pull by hand made no difference. Sigh. Now what was I going to do?
At our nearby office center about 2 miles away, there is a small building called ‘The Boutique’ – a treasure trove of donated goods that are organized by faithful volunteers. One part of the Boutique is the ‘Sewing Room’ where other volunteers sit at sewing machines and do mending and sewing for missionaries.
I remembered that sometimes missionaries were able to use or borrow the sewing machines. And sometimes,there are donated machines that are available to be given away. After a couple of days of psyching myself up to go check out the options, I headed to the Boutique. Truthfully, I tried to prepare myself to be thankful when I was offered a vintage 1970 Montgomery Ward sewing machine.
My friend, Shirley, cheerfully manages the Sewing Room and spends hours serving others at a sewing machine. I found Shirley and asked if, by any chance, there was a sewing machine I might be able to borrow or was there, by any chance… a donated machine available for me to have?
The next thing I knew, Shirley was showing me a beautiful Viking Husqvarna machine. It had been donated and a volunteer had recently serviced it. If I wanted that one, it was available. Wow. I was blown away. God providing a sewing machine and not just any machine – Viking sewing machines are made in Sweden and are considered one the best on the market. And this one is in beautiful condition. I was near tears as I received this gift with true thanksgiving to God.
As I left the Sewing Room carrying my new gift, I felt lighter and so very blessed. I walked into the house and showed Tim my precious gift. We both delighted God’s goodness.
I’m still working on completing the curtain project. But now, it’s not nearly so daunting as I sit in front of the sewing machine that makes beautiful straight stitches as the motor purrs along like a song of praise. I’m grateful for a reminder of God’s love for us, which fills our hearts with puffs of ‘helium’ to raise our spirits.