Saturday, February 18, 2012

CONFESSIONS OF AN ATTIC ADDICT

"The best things in life...aren't things." ~Art Buchwald

I cautiously made my way down the stairs from our attic, arms full of more stuff, and a heavy heart that added to my load. Clearing out this vast space was supposed to be a freeing experience. Instead, I felt a weight that pressed in all around me. Yes, it's just stuff ~ material objects we have collected over the years...items that have found their way up into the attic for a lack of room in our living space. So why was I growing so emotional?

Perhaps because every item I was sending down the stairs to its fate represented a memory. True, I haven't used my sewing machine in years. But I well remember the day my mom gave it to me. It felt as if she was giving me a part of herself because sewing had been her passion for so many years. My husband pointed to a rusty old trunk that had seen better days. "No way! I can't get rid of that! That trunk travelled the world with my mom when she was a little girl." He sighed in frustration. To him, it was just a trunk, an object taking up space.

The  mood in our home was somber for the rest of the day. He was stewing over my insistence to hold onto certain items. I was mourning the loss of possessions he'd hauled to Goodwill. Watching them pull out of our driveway was like saying goodbye to bits and pieces of my past.

Later, I told my husband how I felt. "Honey, you are blessed with such good memory. You remember details about things that happened decades ago. I'm not that fortunate. When I go up to the attic and look around at the accumulated stuff, they trigger memories. I'm afraid I am going to lose them as I say goodbye to our things."

The look on his face told me he understood, at least enough to rethink his whole approach. "I'm so sorry." Later, when he brought me flowers, I knew that my words had sunk in.

We still have to face an endless pile of stuff in our attic and scale way back on what we keep. And I'm still afraid of letting go ~ I don't want to lose so many precious memories. But perhaps I can look ahead to what awaits us, and put my focus on this new chapter in our lives. I don't want to clutch so tightly to the past that I cheat myself of the present. The memories are sweet, but so is this season in life...and this day.

"Like it or not, time passes, and that's why nothing will ever be the same it used to be. Things are meant to change..." ~Jaqueline Echeverria

"Do not gather and heap up and store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal. But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
~Matthew 6:19-21

        

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