Another year, another white elephant sale, and look what I found: this beautiful statue of the Little Flower encased in an ornate frame. It was the first thing I saw when I walked into the room. It certainly stood out among the other, smaller items on the table.
I walked closer to inspect it further, unbelieving. The lady who was volunteering there came over to me and saw my reaction.
"I think it's St. Therese," she said, studying it.
"Oh, it's her all right," I said quietly. I had to smile, thinking how every year, I find something from St. Therese at this sale. I wasn't expecting something this big, this ornate, but there it was, looking at me, begging for me to take it home.
"It's so big," I said, wondering where it would go. I leaned in closer and saw that it needed work: a dusting, a new paint job in places where the paint had flecked off, a chipped finger.
Yet... what if someone bought it just to make money off of it, not because they loved the Little Flower? Or what if someone bought it and it got kicked around in their basement, never to be enjoyed or respected? Or...the unthinkable...what if it wound up in a trash can somewhere? I cringed.
"It was dropped off yesterday by someone who said it was originally owned by a blind priest," the lady said. "If you want it, you should get it now, before Mass starts. I think this will be sold quickly."
I glanced at the price sticker. The lady was right; it would definitely sell quickly at that inexpensive price! Surely it was mismarked? No, it wasn't.
"I'll take it," I said. "I can paint it and fix it up good as new."
As I carried it out to my car, I still felt a little unsure, wondering where I would put it. The fancy design doesn't really go with the rest of my house, but it is such a beautiful portrait of her. I knew I had to have it, but why?
Then I realized that it doesn't really matter why, or where, or how. I thought of the blind priest who owned it. He couldn't even see its beauty, yet he knew it was her and he knew it was there, hanging in his residence, and that had made him happy.
Yesterday my son helped me repaint Therese. We painted her flowers a pretty, deep pink, and touched up the black paint on her veil and the frame. And I thought of the faith and trust that the blind priest had. He knew he had something beautiful, even though he couldn't see it. We should all have that kind of faith. We know God's love is beautiful, even though sometimes we don't see it in every situation. But we trust in Him, and we know that love is always there.
I imagined the blind priest, having such a beautiful image on his wall. He couldn't even enjoy its beauty, at least not in the sense of physical sight. What trust and love he must have had for God and His Little Flower! What faith he must have had!
As we finished painting Therese, I felt a sense of relief and happiness. I knew this beautiful statue had gotten into the right hands. I still don't know where it will go, but I have faith. Isn't that what St. Therese teaches us every day?
I wonder what I'll find at next year's white elephant sale!