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.

3 thoughts on “Knowing when to “let go” of stuff!”

  1. Hi Janet, i love this! I think I love it even more because of loving your Grandparents. I remember being at the dinner table with you and your family and my grandparents. Your Dad had everyone in hysterics. I also remember your Uncle Carl being equally funny! I have wonderful childhood memories and many of them took place in Thompson.

  2. I enjoyed reading this, Jan, as I too have to do this soon, with many of the same type of materials since my dad was also a minister. It would be wonderful if my children and grandchildren would take time to learn about what a solid Christian heritage they have, and pass it on to their children.

  3. Hi Janet,
    Thank you so much in sharing your Father”s poem. I remember that era well, the gas lines, the food price jumps, people bringing their calculators to the grocery stores, so they wouldn’t go over the money in their wallets.
    I especially liked how he compared it to those waiting to get into a pew for church, and how important it was for their soul, but not their not really caring. A great twist in his poem.
    I’m doing the same this year, looking at pictures of 20 yrs ago, and discovering I’m still wearing some of the same clothes..still classics, great styles, great shape, but time to find some new that I like, is that possible? Not easy but it must be done. Shoes, the old and purses with great names, and leather, just taking up room, thinking I’ll use them again it taking up valuable space must go.
    As for banker’s boxes of papers brought back home from Mom and Dad’s, I’ve made several attempts to go through them, then find letters, pictures, that as you say are part of your life, that are hard to let go, and some not yet, not now, later, and hope to find time to put in albums, on CD’s, and how many more years do I have left before God calls me home, and will I achieve my goal to completing these tasks, which I do enjoy? Only God knows the answer, so I continue with my goals set in my mind, and work towards them. Thank you , LORD for time, but it seems to be going faster, as with the days.
    There is however great satisfaction in cleaning a pantry, drawer, cupboard, of things that are past or used anymore, and find space for the necessary, and how nice it looks. If it’s senitmental, but still needs to go, I take a picture of it, and let it go. One more picture to tell a story, to those who come after us. That they will know what we lived, what was important to us, that we wrote it for them, just as God had his prophets and disciples write it in the Holy Bible for us, so that we would know the way, make a choice to trust and place their faith in Jesus Christ, to be able to live with Him for eternity, and with each other.

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