Imagine returning home from a shopping trip to find your house leveled! That’s just what happened to a couple in Michigan. A demolition crew was given the wrong address, and all that remained of a grandmother’s old home was a cement slab.
But the amazing thing was their attitude! No anger, but a calm shrug of the shoulders and “Mistakes happen.” Perhaps their serenity was partly possible because of living elsewhere, while remodeling the place as their future down-sized retirement home. So the main personal effects lost were some furniture and books.
“But what about the memories?” they asked him.
“Oh, I still have them,” he said tapping his head. “They’re all up here. No one can ever take them from me.” And how right he is. As long as our mind remains sound, we’ll always have our memories. Even if we lose all else, memories will linger on. And with or without all the stuff no one can ever take them from us!
Why do we keep stuff?
What makes us want to hold on to excess and unnecessary stuff?
As I listened to relatives discuss this very issue a few days later, I couldn’t help but notice a big contrast. They could never move from their homes they decided, because of too much ‘stuff’. But the way they pronounced the word ‘stuff’, showed that they questioned, deep down, how they ever got so much, and why they even keep it.
“I could never get rid of it though. I’ve got things my grandmother gave me, and my my mother, mother-in-law, the aunts, the kids, and just about everyone I’ve ever known.” So they hold on to it, unsettled and disturbed because they don’t know what to do with it. And since their kids don’t want any of ‘the stuff’, they worry over what will happen to it once they’re gone.
I wonder just why they do keep it. Maybe to depression era children, raised in hardship, physical ties represent security. Or perhaps they fear hurting or offending people, some long dead and gone. Or even that their memories will disappear along with ‘the stuff’.
What a contrast
I couldn’t help but notice a big difference between the two scenarios!
A flattened house and nothing left but the memories, with the freedom to accept that and move on. And large homes packed full of stuff, along with a lot of questioning. “What should I do with it? How did I even get it all? How could I ever move, and why can’t I keep my house clean? It’s all so much work!”
Which do you choose? Freedom or stuff?
Memory is a glorious grab bag of the past from which one can at leisure pluck bittersweet experiences of times gone by and relive them.Hal Boyle
Stuff that often complicates life and ties you down? Or a simple, less encumbered life? One of letting go of the past – while continuing to cherish memories. But with greater freedom to move, travel, try new things, or go wherever God may lead.
As for me I’d rather create new memories and embrace new experiences than be tied down to a bunch of stuff!
None of us can take our stuff along when we leave this world. But our memories? They can live on in the hearts and minds of those who’ve shared them and whose lives we’ve touched. And in the lives of all the new people we could meet by trading stuff for experiences!
So which will you cling to? Stuff or making new memories?
We can’t take things with us when we leave this world. But our memories can live on in the hearts of those who have shared them and whose lives we have touched.
Featured image: from Pexels.