The past few weeks I have been cleaning out my parent's home in earnest for an auction sale this fall. To say that my folks have stuff is like saying that Niagara falls is a waterfall. My parents came from small families which means they inherited it all. And by all, I do mean ALL! In addition, they were professional teachers, farmers, crafters and woodworkers with lots of business related stuff.
And when you're working on your parent's home, wading through all their stuff...well...it makes you think about your stuff. And why you have stuff. And what your kids will do with YOUR stuff.
I used to collect things, antiques mostly. Then I got married and sold a bunch of it. Now I collect children, we've been adding one a year until recently. And with those children comes a different kind of stuff. Which isn't all bad. But when I struggle to find my living room floor, there's a problem. A stuff problem.
I have a calling to have a home that runs smoothly, looks nice and is functional. Hubby assisted me in this call by buying me a book entitled, "Organized Simplicity" by Tsh Oxenreider for Christmas. Quite frankly, it's awesome. Slowly but surely, I'm putting into practice those things I've always wanted to do.
And I'm looking at stuff in a whole new way. She asks this question (my paraphrase), "So many of us have stuff because it reminds us of someone or some place or some thing. But can't we still have the memory without the stuff? Do we have to have the stuff to have the memory?"
Another thought that resonated with me is that keeping something has a cost. A cost of space to put it, a cost of time to dust it or move it, a cost of strain to look at it cluttering up an area. And that is a cost I'm no longer willing to pay.
Friends of ours are nearing retirement age and are downsizing to a condo. We helped them with their moving sale. I gave them each a hug and I said, "Your daughter will rise up and call you blessed because you are doing this now and not making her do it when you are not able to." I'm quite certain that's what that verse in Proverbs is referring to. There must have been a tent in Israel crammed with stuff....
My great aunt did that. She had an auction sale and sold all her stuff so that none of us would have to do it. I bless her name.
Cleaning my parent's home has been just as emotionally exhausting as it has been physically exhausting. Daily, sometimes hourly, I vacillate between sorrow and grief at cleaning out my dad's bathroom that still smells like him and frustration that I'm having to deal with all of this stuff, THEIR stuff. And I call my husband in frustration and say, "Who does this to someone they love?"
But then I calm down and realize that my parents were not physically capable of doing this and this is just one way that children are called to honor their father and mother.
But I also vow that I will not do this to my children. That when I die, they may collect my Bible and my journal and say, "Thank goodness we had her, because she sure didn't leave a lot of stuff."