Why Am I Looking for What I Already Have?

Whenever I’m in a vintage shop, I find myself drawn to metal baskets.

Sometimes they're rusty or covered with chipped paint, in blue or green or red. 

Sometimes the baskets have linens neatly folded in them or hold office supplies or kitchen utensils. It seems the rustier they are, the higher the price. 

But I’ve also noticed that Marshall’s and TJ Maxx sell similar baskets. Same rusty look but a lot less expensive. I’ve carried baskets around the store, thinking about how I’d use them, but I never actually bought one.

Then I remembered. I have one. 

A rusty, vintage metal basket. 

I hardly notice it because it sits in a spare room holding magazines. 

On a weekend family trip to Cape Cod 25 years ago, my mother made us drive through a random neighborhood and stop at a garage sale. I’m sure it didn’t cost more than a few dollars, since my mother never spends much on garage sale items. 

The person who sold it to her said it was a crab basket. But it looks more like an egg basket to me. It has a tag on it that says “The Farm Bureau, Waltham, Mass.” 

I took the basket downstairs, set it in front of my mantel and wondered why I was looking for something I already had. 

Why was I going to buy a cheap reproduction when I had the rusty real thing? 

I got caught up in thinking how I could use the replica baskets for something clever and useful while the truly vintage basket stayed stashed in a corner.

Hidden. Unusued. Overlooked. Underappreciated.

Then I wondered why am I looking for purpose and ways for my life to matter when I already have them? 

Why am I looking for ways to find bliss and joy when they're right in front of me? 

Why am I waiting for an epoch-making event when my life is already full of meaningful experiences? 

But sometimes it's hard to remember when the days seem hum-drum and tiresome. When the routine gets a little boring. When the hours are full of tedious tasks. 

That's when I miss what's right in front of me. Those little things that I like to think of as love-notes from God. Just for me. 

When I came across a fabulous black coat so similar to one I admired on my co-worker, even though she'd gotten hers a year ago. 

When an email with the acceptance of an article I'd written arrived the very night a friend had unknowingly hurt my feelings. 

When a single man I barely know said that he thought I looked like a princess. (Finally, someone recognizes my true identity!) 

I could overlook them or pass them off as lucky happenstances, but I choose to think of them as something especially meant for me. Right in front of me. 

That’s what makes this faith-walk so intriguing and captivating. To see how God uses my ordinary days, my distressing episodes, my exceptional experiences in ways I’ve never dreamed or imagined.

So last weekend, I put some taper candles in my vintage basket. I stuck a stone planter with dried roses and beads inside the basket. It seems to have a lot of decorating possibilities, but I'm not sure exactly what I'll like in it. 

I might look for some petite French burlap pillows. Or maybe a few vintage books with pretty covers. Glass balls at Christmas would look great. Maybe some flowers or fruit for the summer. 

I haven’t found the perfect item just yet to bring out its rustic-ness. But maybe staying empty would be just as nice, too. 

Either way, it’s an honest-to-goodness rusty metal basket. Sitting front and center in my living room. Where I can appreciate its artful image. Along with all the other things I already have.


  1. Another great article! Such insight - impresses me with every article. You are right - we get so busy looking for things to be better in the future, that we fail to see how good they are in the present. Great basket, by the way!!

    1. Sharon,
      Credit goes to my mother for picking the basket! :)

  2. Wow - so true. We get so caught up with wanting something tantamount to happen or appear, that we miss the beauty in what is right in front of us. :) Beautifully said! :) - Shawna

    1. Shawna,
      Love that -- the beauty in front of us -- there's so much if we only look for it!

  3. What a beautiful post. Thank you for this reminder. I'm going to try to open my eyes wider this week to see all I have right in front of me.

    1. So true -- what's sometimes overlooked packs the most impact!

  4. You share very meaningful ideas, thank you!


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