It Just “Happened” to Happen: My Couch Cushion Story

Before Christmas, my sister happened to text me that a neighbor of hers was moving and selling off most of her quality furniture at very good prices. “Do you need anything?” was the text that started everything.

I’ve lamented before that working in public service means working for very little money but greater personal rewards, so know that especially at Christmas, my budget for anything was limited. So I asked my sis if they happened to have a nice couch. Well, they did — a sectional actually. I told my husband, he said no. I mentioned it to my son, he said yes. When I’m thinking yes, I usually go with my son. But…I said no. And then my sis texted me, “She’ll just give it to you.”  Well, who can turn down free?

The trick was that it was close to Atlanta and I had no way to get it. So I happened to post the question on Facebook, asking if anyone could advise me on the least expensive way to rent a truck locally (or from Atlanta). Hours later and lots of suggestions later, I happened to get a private message from a man offering his truck anytime. Now, I don’t know this man well. He had posted on Facebook months and months ago that he was teaching a guitar class and looking for students, and I just happened to repost for him and he gained a couple of additional students. How lovely of him to, as he said, “pay it forward.”

With Christmas coming and all of our rainy weather, it was difficult to figure out a time/day to trek to Atlanta to pick the furniture up. So my sister had it moved to her basement to await my arrival.

Right after Christmas, I was trying to schedule a meeting with two women to talk about an Alzheimer’s initiative in town. One woman, Michele, emailed that she couldn’t do it right before New Year’s because she was going to Georgia to visit family. I just happened to ask where in Georgia she would be going and when I found out it was close to my sister and parents, I told her to look for me on the highway and honk and wave…..

Well, it just so happened that New Year’s Day had a clear weather forecast and I messaged Jim, the truck man, who said he just happened to be taking his kids to the Great Wolf Lodge that day and wouldn’t be needing his truck…So we met early that morning and I drove happily to Georgia, saw my parents for a quick half hour, helped my nephew and a friend load and tie up the furniture and I was back on the highway. I got on the highway at Georgia exit 126, after stopping on the ramp to pull a sofa cushion out of my line of sight and into the inside of the truck and within 4 hours, with lots of looking behind me, I was home.

The men in my family unloaded the truck, set up the sectional and…one couch cushion was missing. I called my parents, texted my sister — did we accidentally leave the cushion behind?  Of course, the answer was no.

On a lark, I emailed Michele, the woman who was going to Georgia and mentioned that if she happened to be driving home, to please look for my cushion. All I told her it was that it was beige. I posted on Facebook that if anyone driving home from Atlanta happened to see a beige sofa cushion, to please pick it up for me. Several people promised to be on the lookout, but I wasn’t feeling optimistic. I started thinking about how I could have another cushion made for me or fill in the big empty space. I went to bed with visions of going to the fabric store in the morning to see if I could find a similar fabric, justifying that the cost to make a new cushion would be okay since I really didn’t have to spend any money on the couch itself….

…And when I turned my cell phone on the next morning, there was a message from Michele, with a picture of the cushion and the words, “Is this it?”  Found, by mile marker 128! What were the chances?

Now if you have stayed with me through all of this, there is a bit more. A friend of mine owns a restaurant. She has never, ever gone on vacation since owning the restaurant. She even missed her sister’s wedding. But she had the chance to go to her brother’s wedding out of the country….IF someone could manage her restaurant while she was gone. So along with another man, I volunteered. My gift to a friend. In turn, she provided me with a gift certificate to give Jim, the truck guy.

My friend Gabi told me today that this entire scenario was the Universe (or a god), testing me, giving me something good and seeing if I would receive it with grace because I thought I was deserving of good. My first inclination is to say that it wasn’t because I deserved it, it was because I happen to know people of good hearts. Because it’s difficult to receive a compliment. But now, to me, this story has a much deeper meaning. If I don’t accept the compliment I have been given in being surrounded by giving souls, then I also stop the chain of kindness from continuing. Yes, I am deserving of good things because I know that I have the ability to encourage the good things to happen to others, simply by giving of my heart.

People from other states across the country, commented on this Facebook story. It has become much more than a story about a couch cushion. It is a story about hope, about human kindness, about worthiness and receipt. It’s about sharing the story with others and being a conduit for good happenings.

If you want to tell me your story, please do. Or if you want to come over and chat, well, I have the perfect place for you to sit.

May you have a couch cushion experience soon….


Author: jillswain

Former Mayor Chamber of Commerce Exec. Director Advertising consultant Mom and spouse (30 years and counting!) Rec league girls' volleyball coach Champion of all things Huntersville, North Carolina

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