Knowing when to “let go” of stuff!

Every January, I go through clothes, knickknacks, towels, dishes, etc.  and toss what is worn, outlived its use, or plain tired of it.  This year I have been going through memories.  Letters from my grandparents and great grandparents, my children, my parents.  Photos, albums, cards.

Some of it was painful to throw away.  But dog-eared and ripped and unreadable takes up useless space.  I managed to file everything in its proper place.  One of my treasures I must keep, though, are my father’s poems.  He was a Baptist minister and loved the people he served.  And his sense of humor was amazing.  When he walked into a room, he filled it with sunshine.  My Mom said he brought out the best in her because she was an extrovert inside trying desperately to get outside.  They were a perfect balance.

I have many of his sermons on CD’s.  And boxes full of handwritten sermons…before the computer days obviously.  Going through the boxes one by one, I cried, I read, I remembered, I laughed.  But some of them were so illegible I had to make tough choices.

I wanted to share a poem he wrote during the gas shortage during the Carter years.  They were in Florida, escaping frigid New York temperatures.  He always thought of his congregation and sent letters to be read while he was gone.  Here is a poem he sent…always with a spiritual twist.  I hope you enjoy it.

“AS I WAIT HERE IN LINE FOR FIVE GALLONS OF GAS, A MILE FROM THE PUMP WHERE I HOPE IT WILL LAST,

I’VE TRIED TO IMAGINE WHAT MY USHERS WOULD DO, IF PEOPLE WOULD CLAMOR LIKE THIS FOR A PEW.

‘TIS A SOBERING THOUGHT SUCH THINGS WILL NOT BE,

FOR ETERNITY’S VALUES ARE NOT FIRST – YOU CAN SEE;

FOR A LOT OF GOOD FOLKS CLAIM THEIR LOVE FOR THE LORD, WHO SELDOM SHOW UP TO HEAR HIS GOOD WORD.

ANOTHER GREAT “LINE UP” SOON WILL BE PAST, WHEN THE LORD SHALL DECLARE “THE FIRST SHALL BE LAST,”

THEN THOSE WHO WERE NOT “REGULAR CUSTOMERS” AT CHURCH, IF NOT “BORN AGAIN” WILL BE LEFT IN THE LURCH.

THIS ENERGY CRISES – SOMEDAY WILL PASS, AND A CRISES FAR GREAT THAN SHORTAGE OF GAS-

WILL EMERGE ON THE WORLD WITH A FAR GREATER TOLL, ON THOSE WHO GOT FUEL -BUT NEGLECTED THEIR SOUL.

I wonder what will happen when I leave this earth, if my children will value the treasures I’ve saved.  Perhaps a grandchild will search through my stuff and say these treasures are a part of me.  Our family history is filed by line – and to me, it is fascinating reading.  There are so many things I hope they will love…although cursive is not taught…I trust an elder person will read it to them.

With all of the chaos in the world today, I feel warm all over by my great heritage.  I can only hope the things precious to me will not be discarded.

Do you have memories in writing that are special to you?  Share them with me.  And know I will appreciate them.