This Friday, Zack and I closed escrow on a brand new house for a dear friend and client. At almost 50, this GODLY, Nigerian man from London, England who’d been saving every penny for years finally got himself a piece of the “American dream”! There are no words to describe the look of pride, accomplishment, and gratitude on his face at the last signed closing document, as if he couldn’t believe what he’d just done. He was like a little boy sitting in front of a tower of presents on Christmas morning! It was hard for me not to cry, but indeed I resisted, because this was his moment, not mine.
He’d been living at his brother’s since having arrived from London three years ago. He’s a simple man of meager means, but after the closing Zack said to him ..
So, when’s the big move? Can we arrange to get a truck or help in any way?
Oh, no truck necessary friend. With the exception of my mattress and a small bedside table, everything I own will fit in my car.
Wait! What? You don’t have anything?
Oh, please don’t worry! My God has blessed me with a brand-new house with a brand-new roof to keep me warm and dry, and I have PLENTY of food to eat! I have the rest of my life to fill my beautiful new home with all the “things” I know God will provide.
With that, Zack and I both left feeling sick to our stomachs and wishing we had a million dollars to just zap him a home filled with “things”. Later that day, Zack shared the situation with his best friend, Rick, who generously gifted our client with a beautiful dinette. Such a blessing! So, we picked it up and headed to Tony’s with the surprise. He answered the door of his very empty house – and when I say empty – I mean empty! 1,700 empty square feet, except for the mattress on the floor in his bedroom, some blankets, pillows, a nightstand, two lamps, some pots, pans and some dishes.
Can I just tell you how genuinely happy this man is for all that he has been given? He said, “I’m not missing a thing”, and let me assure you that he meant it! He is just as content with his mattress on the floor as any of us would be with so much more.
Those of you who know me well know the some of the struggles I’ve overcome, not the least of which is that I was once a girl who had every “thing” a girl could want, yet still had nothing at all. I walked away from the life of a princess in hopes of finding not only myself, but more so than that, the truth. I didn’t quite get to the point where I had to live under a bridge, I do now know how it feels to be “homeless and broke”. More importantly, however, I now know what it means to “lose much but gain all“. I am SO beyond grateful for every single “thing” I have in my once again flourishing life, both tangible and intangible, and I thank God every single second of every single day for every breath that I am given.
Ironically, this client of ours is a clerk at the dry cleaner we patron. Not once in the years that I’ve known him has he failed to greet me with a smile. “How are you this blessed day my dear Catherine?” He watched my life go from better, to worse, to “EVERYTHING”! First I’d rolled up in a $100,000 car, fingers and wrists encrusted with diamonds, to an old Ford pick-up truck worth $500 bucks at most, and me just barely hanging on. All the while he was such an encouragement to me – always kind, always positive, and always reminding me to “keep my eyes upon the Cross and remember what’s most important … MY God, my health and my family“! The day I passed my Texas real estate exam, I just so happened to stop by the dry cleaners on the way home. After my Husband, Sister and Son, he was the fourth human being I told, “I DID IT”! He literally almost cried tears of joy for me! “YOU SEE! I TOLD YOU YOU COULD DO IT! YOU HAD NOTHING TO FEAR BUT THE FEAR ITSELF!” And a few weeks later when I got finally got my business cards? Yup! You guessed it! I happened to stop by the cleaners! He was the first human being who I ever handed my card to! I truly believe this man is an angel in my life, and we are SO blessed to now call him “family and friend”.