This past weekend, we "ended up" at Nebraska Furniture Mart. For those of you that aren't lucky enough to have NFM near you.....I'm sorry :( It's an amazing, amazing, amazing place to buy furniture! It's so big, in fact, that it has it's own Starbucks and sub shop! And with miles and miles of rooms of furniture stretched out in front of you at deeply discounted prices, how can you possibly go wrong?
Our original destination was Cabela's for some fishing gear for the kids, but with NFM just across the street, it made sense to go in and browse. After all, we really do need to replace one of our couches, and we would be foolish to shop for a couch anywhere else! So, in we went.
It didn't take long for me to figure out that the leather couches I had hoped would be a solution to our old nasty fabric couch were well OUT of our price-range, and why bother replacing the one we have now with something that will likely end up in the same condition in just one year's time. But before we headed out, we decided to make a quick run through the scratch-n-dent section.....you just never know what you might find ;-)
I barely had one foot through the door of the clearance area when I stopped dead in my tracks.
Before me, in all it's glory, stood the bed that I had long dreamed of! Four large columns towered up to the ceiling and framed the beautiful headboard and footboard. The gleaming wood was dark and mysterious. It was extravagant, it was elegant, it was majestic.....and it was clearance-priced!!!!!
And not only that.....it wasn't alone ;-)
Along with the bed came a dresser, a chest, a mirror and a nightstand, each one just as glorious as the bed itself. In addition, there was a marvelous bench that stood at the foot of the bed. And although it was separately priced, it had a gorgeous rich leather cushion on top and was simply the icing on the cake!
As I stood and marveled at my find, I began to let my eyes wander in search of a price tag, not really wanting to look, but knowing that would likely be the one thing that would send me sprinting quickly in the other direction.
When I finally caught sight of the price, I found myself catching my breath, not because of the extraordinarily high cost, but because of the unexpectedly low cost! This $11,000 set was now selling for a mere $3500!!!!
What luck, what good fortune, what a blessing, what a steal, what-the-heck-was-I-thinking????
We weren't there to buy a bedroom set.
We certainly weren't there to spend $3500, no matter what a great deal it was.
We had other rooms to furnish before I could ever consider changing my own room. Josh and Noah are in desperate need of new dressers, as the ones they are currently using barely hold one pair of pants. And Allie needs a new mattress. And of course there's still the matter of a new couch.....
But wait. Couldn't we give the boys our old dressers? Why, they would be perfect.... and they even match!
Suddenly I had my justification!
I slid over to my husband....honey, look at this set! Oh my goodness, it's beautiful! I LOVE IT! Just LOOK at that price! And wouldn't this just make the BEST 20th anniversary gift?!?!
(We will be celebrating 20 years on June 16th!)
To my astonishment, I heard my husband say "let's get it!"
Yes, you like it. I like it. Let's get it!
That's when reality came crashing down.
Of course we couldn't get the set. I did love it. But then, I love LOTS of things. That doesn't mean that I go out and buy them. Besides, we just recently ended up having to get a new washer and dryer...oh yes, and a new car......
As we left the store empty-handed, I felt a bit of sadness, but I consoled myself with the thought that someday, when the time is right, I will have my bed.
Before I knew it, the weekend was over and Monday was upon us. I had kids to shuttle, school books to buy, errands to run, and I had to meet my husband at our local DMV to pay the property tax on our new car. Monday, indeed.
After paying our taxes, Zack & I decided to grab a quick bite to eat for lunch at a sub shop next door. It was a nice chance for us to sit and talk, as we only had Caleb with us and could enjoy our conversation a bit more than usual ;-)
Somehow the conversation turned to our upcoming anniversary, and my husband mentioned that I might notice a "charge" on our card. I immediately fussed about it because we had agreed NOT to do anything but go out to dinner. He argued that it's our 20th anniversary, a really big deal, and that he should be able to buy his wife something special after 20 years of marriage. I was adamant that I did not want anything, and after about 10 minutes of arguing back and forth, he insisted that I let him tell me what the gift was. I agreed.
Instead of just telling me what the surprise was, he started with a bit of a story. I didn't go to work this morning he said. I went to Nebraska Furniture Mart. I bought that bedroom set that you loved, and I even talked them down some more on the price and had them throw in the bench at the foot of the bed for free. It's being delivered this Thursday....on our anniversary.
My first response, I must admit, was guilt. Was I such a materialistic person that my husband would think he had to buy my love? Was I so spoiled that people felt they needed to give me things to make me happy? Why did I ever suggest that I would want such a gift? I insisted that he return it.
My next feeling was sorrow. I looked at my husband's face and I knew that I had hurt him. He had wanted so desperately to do something special for me, had taken time off work to drive 30 minutes each way out to a store in an effort to surprise me, and he had even negotiated a better deal on the price, and I had broken his heart.
But as bad as I felt for him, I knew I couldn't justify the gift. I knew that I wouldn't be able to walk into my bedroom and feel anything but guilt. Maybe if we hadn't just gotten a new washer and dryer, or a new car......
I tried to explain my thoughts to my husband, but all I could see was hurt. We HAD to get a new washer and dryer.... and our car was almost 9 years old.... those aren't things you really wanted.... those aren't special.
And he was right. But then, as I listened to his words, I realized something. He cared. He heard me. He listened. He thought about me. You see, the true gift wasn't the furniture.....
Have you ever heard the phrase it's the thought that counts?
Usually, it's something we say when we are given a gift that we don't like, can't use, and are likely to get rid of as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
But this time, it truly was the thought that counted....
That WAS the gift.
A beautiful and glorious gift!
Not only did my husband take the time to think about me, he spent several hours trying to give me the perfect gift.
Only this time it was the act of giving that was the gift. And the gift that was meant to be given, never was..... it didn't NEED to be.
As I began to explain my feelings to him, I saw his face soften. He understood. I was happy.
He called the store and was able to return the furniture, opting for a much better gift instead....
the gift of love.