This past Friday Zack and I closed the sale of A BRAND-NEW HOUSE out in Princeton, Texas, for a dear friend and client of ours, who will remain nameless for the moment. At the age of almost 50, this wonderful, GODLY man from London, England (originally from Nigeria), who had been saving every single penny to his name for literally YEARS, finally got himself a piece of the “American dream”! There are no words to describe the look of true pride, accomplishment and humble gratitude on this amazing man’s face at the last signed document at closing. It was as though he couldn’t believe what he had just done … eyes wide and bright with astonishment, like a little boy sitting in front of a great big tower of overflowing presents on Christmas morning! It was hard for me not to cry at the closing, but I resisted, because indeed, this was his moment, not mine.
Meanwhile, I digress. He had been living here with a brother of his in town for quite some time – well, at least since having arrived from London three years ago. He is a simple man of meager means, and after the closing Zack and I said to him, “So, when’s the big move? Can we help you arrange for a truck, or can we help you in any way?” “Oh, no truck necessary my friends, with the exception of my mattress and a night table, everything I own will fit into my car.” “What, you don’t have anything at all?” I asked in dismay. “Oh, no Catherine, it’s okay! My God has blessed me with a brand-new house, a brand-new roof to keep me warm and dry, and I have plenty of food to eat! I have the whole entire rest of my life to fill my beautiful home with “things”, and I know that God will provide.” With this, Zack and I both left the closing feeling a bit sick to our stomachs and wishing we had a million extra dollars to just “zap him a home filled with things”. In a later conversation with Zack’s best friend/adoptive father, Rick, we explained the situation. Rick generously offered to donate a beautiful kitchen table and chairs that he had spare. What a blessing! So, Zack and I went to pick it up from Rick’s this evening and headed up to Princeton with a little “surprise” for our friend. He answered the door, bubbly, happy and filled with JOY (as is par for the course with this man) and invited us into his very empty house – and I do mean empty – not a SINGLE thing in it! 1,700 wide open and empty square feet! Well, except for the mattress on the floor in his bedroom, blankets, pillows and a nightstand, two lamps, some pots, pans and a few dishes and cups. That’s it. Zip, zero, ZILCH!
Can I just tell you how genuinely flipping happy this man is for all that he has been given? He says, “he’s not missing a thing”, and please let me assure you with everything in my heart, HE GENUINELY MEANS IT! He is just as content with his mattress on the floor as any of us would be with “so much more”. I want to mention something else that is perhaps a bit ironic. Those of you who know me well know the personal struggles that I have overcome in the last five years. Those of you that know me EVEN better than that know that I was a girl who once had every “thing” a girl could ever have, but still had “nothing”. I walked away from the life of a princess to find not only myself, but more than that, the absolute truth in life in general. What some of you may NOT know about me? I, myself, now personally know what it feels like to be “homeless and penniless”. (Yes, it’s true, I do.) 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.
As for this client of ours? You should know that he is a clerk at the dry cleaner I go to in Plano. Not once in my course of knowing him these three last years has he ever failed to greet me with a heartfelt, ear-to-ear smile and a “how are you on this fine, blessed day, my dear Catherine?” This man watched my “journey” of sorts (from once pulling up to the window in a $100,000 car, fingers and wrists full of the best diamonds money could buy, to the old Ford pick-up truck worth about $500 bucks on its BEST day, and me just barely hanging on, fighting for the strength not to lay down and die, then actually almost doing so, then back again, slowly, emerging and flourishing, only now, because of different “things”). All the while he was such an encouragement to me … always uplifting, always positive, and always reminding me to “keep my eyes on the Cross and remember what’s most important … MY God, my health and my family“! The day I passed my Texas real estate exam that some of you know I struggled with for SO LONG? I just so happened to stop by the dry cleaners on the way home that day. After my Husband, Sister and Son, he was the fourth human being that 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 brand-new Keller Williams business cards? Yup, guess what? Happened to stop by the cleaners! He was the first human being that I ever handed my card to! I believe this man is somewhat of an angel in my life and my husband, daughter and I are SO blessed to now call him both “family and friend”. Maybe now you all can see why this little “mission” means so much to me!