I have always been a
hoarder collector of fine things stuff. I love knick knacks. I love collections of anything: buttons, ornaments, seashells, dishes, books (oh my word…the books!). If an emotional and/or family attachment is added to it…I will hold on for dear life.
As you can imagine, the above addiction leads to clutter. Lots and lots of clutter. I think we’ve pretty well established that I have a major case of OCD. The two are just not compatible in my brain. Never have been. Even after years of clutter vs. OCD therapy. Retail therapy, that is.
I truly believe that one of the major lessons I am to learn from the last 3 years is that stuff doesn’t matter. Watching my parents go through my grandparent’s home and things, my great aunt and uncle’s home and things and then there own home and things when they down-sized and moved…I mean, wowza. The amount of stuff was incredible.
On the other hand, stuff can hold the key to a tremendous amount of memories. When I pull out the “good” dishes, I’m reminded of family gathered around tables for special meals and holidays. Because of that, I’ve been pulling out the “good” stuff and using it more and more.
My sister has had to go through Andy’s stuff. Since he was only 22 years old, he didn’t have all the stuff that we might have, but it has been brutally painful for her, as you can imagine. The memories right now don’t really bring joy or happiness. One day, it will be different. She’s keeping some of Andy’s stuff, of course. Just yesterday, she bravely set out to decorate the house for Christmas. I can’t really go on typing this paragraph, so I will leave you to your own thoughts as to what this might have been like for her. I know it is all I’ve thought about since she told me she was decorating yesterday.
Stuff. My home is filled with it right now. I’ve never really gone through and gotten rid of my less important stuff when more important stuff has come into my house..things from my family I truly treasure and want to keep. And now, more stuff has come into my home from my in-law’s. When my mother-in-law became ill in July, her first thought was to just dump all of that stuff that was in her home, and walk away. She did not want to have to deal with it and told us to not hold onto any of it. It was just stuff. My father-in-law, on the other hand, is all about holding onto all of his stuff…he repeatedly tells us, “it is my mine…and I want every single bit of it to come to the apartment with me.” A tiny bit of control in the midst of total chaos in his life?
I think that’s the key.
Stuff is something we can control. The obtaining and letting go of our stuff is controlled by us. Even if our stuff is out of control; cluttered; disorganized; chaotic. When I opened Jesus Calling this morning, December 7, the opening sentences were huge for me: “I am with you in all that you do, even in the most menial task. I am always aware of you, concerned with every detail of your life. Nothing escapes My notice – note even the number of hairs on your head.”
The last three years have taught me one thing: I have no control. Best friend’s will die of cancer; I can’t control that. Mother’s will be diagnosed with cancer; I can’t control that. Beloved children will die and I can’t control that. Knowing now, that none of this was unexpected to God; that it was and is all part of His plan…having that awareness…has finally set me free from my need for all of this stuff; my need to control.
Love you guys. See y’all soon.
One thought on “Stuff.”
First of all, it's CDO – the letters are in alphabetical order as they should be. 🙂
Second, I, too suffer from emotional attachments to things. I'm with you on all of it! I also feel a need to hang on to things handed down to me that I don't really care about because I feel that our children may see them as heirlooms and want them.
Lastly, I come from a long line of pack-rats and so come by my disease honestly. When my parents died and my three sisters and I gathered to clean out their house, it was a HUGE task, But those are days I would never trade!! The four of us found things as we were cleaning and we would take breaks and gather to hear what we had found. Daddy had ALL his tax records! Forver! We we were able to see what impact was made when I was born in 1950 – how the milkman had to deliver more milk after my sister was born in 1939. We found doll beds, precious doll blankets that we had once treasured – and the memories flowed.
Oh, we threw it all out in the end. But we shared things we never could have shared if my parents had discarded all of that.
So, be discerning in your downsizing. Keep a few (not everything) of your everyday things so that your children can see and remember and share and bond more with each other.
And when you are cleaning out someone else's things, remember that they held on to those things for a reason….