“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” – Goethe
I’m a collector of sorts, a gatherer of things old and well-loved. I enjoy scouring flea markets, antique shops and used bookstores for that one great treasure (or several) that might come home with me. Whether it ends up in the house, the yard, in my art, or sometimes “because it was just too good a deal to pass up,” the anticipation is almost more exciting than the found object itself. Throw in the occasional road trip with a like-minded friend and some garage and yard sale stops = Fun, fun, FUN!
Of late, I’ve scaled back on these forays – there’s only so much you can bring home, and only so much tolerance for garage space take-over (Hint: never crowd out a man’s work-space). Also, I’ve been trying to adopt the ‘simplify’ mindset of keeping only what I/we need; clearing out our surroundings in order to create a more open and clutter-free environment. For the most part I’m on the right track…but I admit to being somewhat selective with the whole process. Like the post-it note on my computer says, “Small steps…make it do-able!”
It’s funny how simple, random things can stir up memories: one of mine is as a child, colouring at a table beside a sun-lit window and being served food on these pretty dishes with different scenes on them. Several years ago, I looked up the name and found out the pattern was called, The Friendly Village by Johnson Brothers, now dis-continued. I’d off-handedly mentioned to a friend that I’d once considered collecting them – piece by piece – but dismissed the idea because it was too late and probably too costly and time-consuming to start from scratch. Besides, there were a gazillian pieces to this set! So she tucked away this little tidbit of information and three years ago, sent me a very thoughtful, surprise gift for my birthday – 2 Friendly Village teacups and saucers – “so you can enjoy the memory with a cup of tea.”
I could have left it there…really, I could have. But, months later on a trip back east, I ventured into an antique store and there it was – a Friendly Village serving bowl. For ten minutes I wandered around that store, clutching the bowl while a debate was playing itself out in my head. “Don’t do it!” the big girl, practical side of me said. But something deeper was tugging at me, something that I couldn’t ignore, and I found myself at the counter telling the owner about my little girl memory, the gifted teacups and saucers, and a big decision that I was about to make. Because I knew that if I bought that serving bowl, I’d be committed. I was either in for an adventurous treasure-hunt or some frustrating disappointment. “Come with me,” she said…
…and led me down the stairs into her storage room. Sitting on the floor were 2 big banana boxes filled with newsprint-wrapped Friendly Village dinnerware. Whoohoo-Wow!! Thank you, thank you!! oh – and how much is it going to cost to ship this back to Alberta?? And so it began…not slowly, piece by piece as I’d thought, but in surprising quantities and in unexpected places both east and west. In three short years, I’ve amassed this phenomenal collection of Friendly Village dinnerware that is practically spilling out of the old pine cupboard (and there’s more in the shelves below). The funny thing is, I never looked all that hard. Amazing.
As you might have guessed by the post’s title and opening quote by Goethe, this story isn’t just about collecting old, discontinued dinnerware. It IS about commitment, and taking the necessary step needed to make something happen. I have learned that in all things, whether it be one’s art, work, relationships, you name it – a commitment of heart and mind is needed in order to move, grow and open doors to possibility and becoming. When you step out in faith and believe – providence, serendipity, luck – whatever you call it – steps in to help with the desired outcome. It can seem rather magical at times…these little miracles that are just as easily missed if you aren’t paying attention.
“Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.” – Unknown
Like the teacups and serving bowl that set me on the collectors path…or the work that continues to bless me – both required that first step – commitment to a wish, a dream, a desire – doing the work to make it happen, and being open and grateful for whatever comes.
Your thoughts? I’d love to hear them…