I like op-shopping. There’s nothing like walking into an opportunity shop, with a purse filled with coins, and walking out with some amazing recycled finds.
At the moment, my favourite winter jacket, scarf and leather boots are all from op-shops and cost a total of AUS$18. The boots are a brand I really like and had never been worn, the jacket is a stunning blue wool and just looking at the gorgeous orange striped scarf makes me feel happy.
I’ve written before about how much I love taking something set for the rubbish dump and turning it into something beautiful and useful. One of my favourite rescued pieces is the white buffet, sitting in my family room.
The last time I was in an op-shop, I came across a pile of old sheet music. Something about the beautiful old music, printed in the 1920’s and carefully wrapped in brown paper, caught my eye and I couldn’t leave without buying it. I had no idea what I would do with it – my piano playing skills are a little too rusty for such complicated pieces – but I knew that I couldn’t leave it behind.
Today I woke up to the sound of rain. Being Saturday, I was looking forward to spending some time with the kids – and a crafting afternoon sounded just about right. While the kids made cards for friends, I pulled out some supplies and set about turning the sheet music into something special.
A few hours later, I had turned the unwanted music sheets into a couple of cute heart pictures (see below) and a bunch of unique cards for friends’ birthdays.
Hanging the pictures on my wall, I was struck again by how something that seemed old and not good for anything but the bin, was – a couple of hours later – something so beautiful.
Sometimes life can leave us feeling so down, that we start thinking we’re no longer of value to society. I know when I was sitting alone, locked in a psychiatric ward after the birth of my first baby, I started thinking that my life was pretty much over. The fear and loathing in the eyes of the ward staff affirmed this thought – that I was no longer an educated, articulate young woman respected by those around me… but someone who had to be kept heavily medicated and away from the rest of society.
At that time, I pretty much felt like those sheets of music, once highly-valued but now abandoned and destined for the bin. And yet, looking at the new pictures on my wall – made from the recycled music sheets – I was reminded of my own journey. Here I am, eight and a half years later, not only living with mental illness, but thriving.
Being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at the age of 18 was a huge blow. And it’s something that I’ve had to learn to live with over the past 19 years. But it hasn’t meant the end of life as I knew it. I have still gone on to become a wife, a mother, an employee and a friend.
Like the sheet music transformed into something very different, my life may not look exactly like it used to – but it is beautiful in an equally special and valuable way.
My prayer is that everyone reading this who is going through hard times, will realise that while your life may not look quite like you had planned, it may well in the end turn out to be even better than you originally hoped. Don’t ever think that your life is not worth living. Don’t ever give up.
Does anyone else love seeing the potential in things? Got any stories or photos of your favourite op-shop finds?