Nearly two months ago now, I lost my father. In the weeks that followed, my sisters and step mother and I went through Daddy's things. There were shirts and ball caps, tools and golf balls, OH the golf balls :) But we found out an amazing thing about our dad.
I'm enjoying a glass of orange juice this morning... what are you sipping?
We found out that my dad kept everything. No, he wasn't a hoarder. He wasn't a pack rat. He wasn't a stock piler. Not of things, at least, but of memories. We found album after album of photos. We found negatives, prints, digital copies, all cataloging trips and vacations and special moments with his daughters.
We found cards - in fact, I think we found every card we ever gave him. I found arts and crafts I'd made him in Vacation Bible School from 30+ years ago, still in the sandwich bag wrapper, still with the note penned by an excited 8 year old gift bearer.
My dad didn't keep things because he wanted things. He kept memories, and the things that sparked memories.
I recently read what another blogger wrote. This is what Jules had to say, "My friend’s father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Her mom heard the news and took to her bed. She stopped eating and drinking, and about 10 days later she passed away. Two weeks after that, my friend’s father died. June of 2011 was a nightmare. Going through her parents’ belongings was unbelievably disturbing. I remember standing in front of her mother’s vanity table and looking at the makeup, perfume, daily vitamin. It was all so normal! I felt like that character in a movie that stumbles into a city where everyone has suddenly left. I looked at her makeup and thought that if someone were to go through my makeup drawer, they would wonder why a girl who never wears makeup has two different green eyeshadows and 12 lip glosses in various shades of plum.
I decided right then that if anyone were to go through my possessions, they would touch each one without wondering what the heck I was thinking. “Oh, look! She loved these shoes.” “Do you remember how long it took her to find this perfume tray?” “She bought the fox lamp because her oldest son’s favorite movie was Fantastic Mr. Fox. It reminded her of him.”
My goal is for everything in our home to have a memory, and if not a memory, at least a purpose. (Sometimes a lemon reamer is just a lemon reamer.) I have no desire to be a minimalist, but it goes part and parcel with creating an intentional home. It’s hard to consider yourself thoughtful when you have a drawer full of old t-shirts!"
What Jules had to say was very emotionally charged for me, especially in the days that followed Daddy's passing.
I'm not a hoarder, I don't think. I'm not a minimalist, either, although the thought is appealing to me. I don't live in a small home, but I want the things that are here with me to have meaning, to have purpose.
I don't want to have 20 pair of socks just because they were on sale. I want them to be my running socks or my boot socks. Most days you'll find me in stilettos, sandals, ballet flats or boots. I don't need 20 pair of socks!
Like Jules, if someone were to go through my things tomorrow, or next week, next year or twenty years from now, I would want them to say about me, "She loved her shoes," "She made scratch biscuits with that old soup can," "She loved Enfuselle skin care," and "the painting above her mantle reminded her family of the hike through the Aspen groves."
My life is not a show. My home should not be staged or produced. I want my family to know that I love them because I love on them, not because my home looks as if I do.
Only By His Grace,