Wednesday, September 05, 2007

You know someone is reading when several days go by without a new post and people e-mail or call to see if you're okay. That is both reassuring and reaffirming. We are as fine as we can be--maybe even a little better than that--and have worked a little each day on organizing our office and going through things in the garage. My family all accuse me of being a pack rat and I now admit it with no apologies. I come from that generation born of those who lived through the Depression so I keep things, just in case I might need them again.

Things. Who needs them? Have I not wisely and smugly proclaimed that "People are more important than things?" Have I not glowlingly spoken of the memories we keep that no one can take from us? So, why do I need pieces of paper to remind me of by-gone recitals or programs? Just last week Tom brought me an envelope with six or so 8 1/2 x 10 glossies of him and different girls at this or that college dance. I had no trouble disposing of them. Will I be so willing when we uncover pictures I have kept?

I should be more like Marty. A few weeks ago her ex-mother-in-law had a lawyer contact her to find out what she would like done with several boxes stored with them. Marty had forgotten all about the boxes. She called and we tried to remember what was in them--maybe this, maybe that; is it worth it to have them shipped? The final decision was to send one small box that could be mailed and dispose of the others--without even remembering what was in them.
If you don't remember, then how could you possibly miss what's inside?

More times than I can count, I have wished for my former assistant and forever friend Mary. I need her to organize me in my office. She tried for all the years we worked together and I was not always a willing "organizee." Now I'm finding hard copies of many saved files and wonder why in the world I have saved them. If I reuse an outline I have to change the dates and usually change some of the material. My paper files are going to shrink--that's a promise.

In the garage we have opened some barrels that have been packed and stored for the past three years. There are dishes I put away because I knew I wouldn't need them; I found a piece of glassware that belonged to my mother that I thought the movers had stolen; and there is linen from both my mother and Tom's mother. The problem is that I don't know which is which. Who cares? Some may not last to be handed down to children and grandchildren. I'll just use it and be happy to have it--because it was theirs.

Don't get me wrong. I cherish the things that belonged to our parents--the furniture I remember from my childhood, the pieces that Tom's dad so lovingly refinished, the dishes that have little stickers on them so we won't forget who ate what and when. One of my favorite things is a corn pottery pitcher my aunt took from her china cabinet and gave me because she knew I had started a collection. It always reminds me of the special times I spent living with her. Things often evoke memories and memories are nurturing and satisfying.

Some of my favorite passages in the Bible center around remembering. Throughout the book of Psalms the Israelites are encouraged to "remember" God, His mighty acts, all that He has done. The focus of Deuteronomy is "remembering." There, when the Israelites are told to "remember," it is to do so in such a way that action is required. "God did this for you, so remember and obey God. Remember and honor God. Remember and be thankful. "

In the midst of the clutter in our house, we remember our family as we discover things that transport us to times past. In the midst of the clutter of our lives, we remember our God and His provision for us in every way.

Though I've been "up to my neck" in things lately, I've been enjoying the memories they have prompted.

Pastor Margaret


Bubblewench said...

I am glad you are ok. I was starting to wonder myself.

Isn't it amazing the things you remember when you look at 'your things'?

Purging is a good thing. I try to do it at least 2x a year. I have a hard time throwing things out too and have to force myself. I heard someone say once though: It's not the stuff you need, it's the memory.

That always helps me put it in the trash. Or give it to someone else.

Here's to memories.

Hollis said...

We miss you so very much. Presbytirees and TAFO simply isn't the same, altho Marie is doing a bang up effort to make it as effective as you did. But it is still not the same.
It sounds as tho things are working out well and those grand children already know what special people you are--and that is not because you are their grand parents. We pray for the both of you.
Bette & Hollis