27: The Craigslist Vanity

27: The Craigslist Vanity

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles

The Craigslist Vanity

Flowers grow out of dark moments.

~Corita Kent

The picture that accompanied the Craigslist ad showed a beat-up vanity in need of a major makeover. It was perfect! The seller, who lived nearly fifty miles away, even graciously offered to meet me halfway.

I found our meeting place, a local IHOP, and pulled in. I surveyed the parking lot. It didn’t appear the lady I was meeting had arrived yet. I turned to check the back of my SUV and discovered I would need to do some major rearranging to accommodate my newest “Trash to Treasure” project. I opened all of the doors, and stacked some items to make room. Satisfied with the results I climbed back in my car. I took one last look in the rearview mirror and discovered I had not shut the back passenger door. I got out and walked around to close it.

There on the ground lay a single red silk rose that had fallen out of my car. I bent down to pick it up when I distinctly heard a voice in my head say the words, “Leave it there, it’s going to mean something to someone.” I stopped and looked around. I had come to trust that voice but I certainly didn’t want someone to see me and think I was leaving my trash for someone else to clean up. I shrugged my shoulders, closed the door, and got back in my car, leaving the lonely rose in its place.

I couldn’t see the far end of the parking lot from my vantage point. I decided I’d better make sure my fellow “Craigslister” wasn’t waiting for me on the other side of the restaurant, so I put the car in reverse and pulled out of my space. No sooner had I started forward than a lady driving the truck I had been waiting for pulled in and waved at me. I took the spot next to her, only a few spaces down from where I had originally been parked.

She got out of her truck and introduced herself. She was a pleasant lady in her early sixties. As she helped me load the vanity into the back of my car I joked that my husband would be thrilled I was bringing him another project to complete. She laughed and shared that she had always done the same thing with her husband when he was alive. We got the vanity loaded and continued our small talk. She mentioned her husband several more times and the fact that she was a widow. She shared that she was having a hard time since her loss.

I understood about loss. My daughter had died in a car accident only a few years earlier. I asked her if she was familiar with the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. She knew it well.

I told her about the book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven, explaining that after my own loss I found great comfort in its stories of people who had dreams and received signs from lost loved ones.

“Yes, I know exactly what you are talking about with signs!” she chimed in. She prepared to share her story when she stopped, suddenly transfixed on something behind me. She began pointing excitedly.

“Is that a rose?”

I turned around. She was pointing at the red rose that had fallen from my car.

She was excited and talked as if she couldn’t get the words out fast enough. “I always tell my friends that the last time I received flowers was when my husband was alive. My husband was always bringing me bouquets of flowers and little coffee cups with floral arrangements in them. Anytime I see a flower lying somewhere I pick it up and I think of it as my sign from him that he’s still near. I have an entire collection of flowers I’ve found since he died.”

I looked at her in disbelief. I told her where the flower had come from and how I was going to pick it up but a voice told me to leave it because it was going to mean something to someone.

She got teary-eyed and asked if she could have the rose. I stepped to the side, making room for her to pass. “It’s yours. I’m pretty sure it was meant for you,” I told her.

She walked over and picked up the flower. When she faced me again, she was crying. We stood in the parking lot a while longer, two strangers sharing their hearts with one another. As we talked the woman twirled the red rose between her fingers while her hands shook with emotion.

I left the parking lot with more than a vanity that day. I left the encounter with a renewed sense of faith. Turns out that flower did just as much for me as it did for the lady for whom it was intended. And I just thought I was going to buy an old piece of furniture!

~Melissa Wootan

More stories from our partners