To begin with, I quickly realized that the gathering of much of this material necessitated my own participation. I was increasingly finding that my back and arms were needed to carry items forth from the attic or basement to the garage – particularly those of any substantial size or bulk.
And yet, after this initial realization, I soon decided that this was not all that bad. After all, we do need to lose some clutter; and I certainly do not mind lending a helping hand getting stuff gathered and sorted.
The problem, however, was that I soon discovered that a fair portion of what had been targeted for sale were items for which I myself had some affinity. Ouch! Now, granted, not everything being gathered for sale was technically something belonging to me. But after four decades together, I sort of assumed that if something was in our house and that I myself had developed a personal affinity for it, then it was not ever supposed to be disposed of. Never!
Alas, it appears this is not to be the case! These days, it seems, if it is not nailed down or otherwise physically attached to real estate at the Jackson residence, it now has a price tag affixed to it. Witness the following conversation between my wife and me…
“Should we not also sell this stuff while we are at it?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, we do not need it!”
“But this is our pantry and these items are our groceries.”
“Precisely. And as perishables, they will eventually all go bad. So, let’s sell them now and at least salvage some value here!”
Of course, I am being facetious here. Even so, I have found myself sleeping with one eye open, lest I awaken to find a price tag attached to my own wrist! (Just kidding!)
I know my precious wife is right. We simply cannot keep everything. I suppose I am just a sentimentalist at heart. I tend to hold on to things far too long.
To begin with, as one who communicates for a living, my nature is to accumulate and organize source material. This is why, like most pastors, I have garnered a substantial library over the years. I need an ample pool of resources from which to draw on a regular basis.
Add to this the fact that I am a great lover of history. Few things are as powerful as some item from the past that has a story attached to it. And when such items have a personal history, they are all the more meaningful. What person has not held some article that once belonged to his or her own grandparent or great grandparent and marveled at it?
For these reasons, I have de facto become somewhat of the family historian. On second thought, curator might be the better word. Members of my extended family have passed on to me photographs and other assorted items from our collective history together. These items, with little or no value to the world, are nonetheless treasured by me. And I have gingerly collected and organized them with the hope that, one day, my children and grandchildren will value them as I do.
Still, these things notwithstanding, I have to admit that the last couple of weeks have been good for me. My wife is right. We simply cannot keep everything. There comes a time in life when we need to let go of stuff and move on. With each passing day, she has worn down my resistance. The result is that more and more things have made their way to the garage in the process.
And if that is true of life’s physical baggage, how much more true is it of emotional and psychological baggage? There is a popular internet meme that pictures these words wrapped around the brick corner of a building: “Turn the corner and let it go!”
There is much wisdom in that. It can be burdensome to carry an abundance of stuff all throughout life. This is especially true of bad memories and/or painful episodes. The quicker we realize that doing so is neither necessary nor productive, the sooner we can let go of such things and move on.
As the writer of the New Testament Book of Hebrews (chapter 12, verse 1) puts it, “Let us throw off everything that hinders … and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”
If you find relevancy in any of this, then by all means, feel free to turn the corner and let some things go. I can now testify to just how freeing this is!