Clutter Or Memories?

May 7, 2008
by Mary Daniel

Numbers 15:39 – The purpose of this regulation is to remind you, whenever you notice the tassels, of the commandments of the Lord, and that you are to obey his laws instead of following your own desires and going your own ways, as you used to do in serving other gods. (TLB)

Ecclesiastes 1:11 – There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after. (KJV)

Ivie Bozeman's devotional, Sentimental Treasures, published on April 3rd, spurred me to write further on our sentimental treasures — what others call clutter.

For some time now, I have felt guilty about my clutter. While it's not nearly the accumulation as was my mother's, it does definitely reside in my home. It's tucked away in cupboards — as the beautiful hand-crocheted bedspread and tablecloths carefully and lovingly made by my husband's mother, who died tragically far too young. It's a little costume my mother made by hand for me 55 years ago. It sits stacked in my too-full china cabinets in the form of age-old wedding gifts, Christmas ornaments, and the treasured dish sets my grandmother used back in the early 1900s.

It fills most every flat surface — in the form of angels, candles, and other knick-knacks chosen for me by family and friends who cared. It graces my fridge door in photos of our grandchildren; and our bathroom, hall, and a bedroom wall in their drawings from when they first took to crayon, paint, and paper.

It's in boxes, cupboards, drawers, and shelves. Yes, to some it's all clutter, and yes, some of it is just clutter. And yet, to me, most of it is meaningful. Most of it evokes memories, and it's nice to be able to see and touch it while I still have those senses God gave me to do so, for the time may come when I may not be able to see, but may still be able to feel. The time may also come when "there is no remembrance of former things".

Were I to get rid of them, after retaining my tangible memories on CD or DVD, should either one get scratched or broken, the pleasure of the treasure would be gone forever.

And so, in reading Ivie's devotional, the thought came to me that these are our treasures, our memories of something or someone from the past — and as long as they are not treasured in place of or instead of God, it should matter not to us what others think.

Proverbs 16:9 – A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. (KJV)

Prayer: May we give thanks to You, O Lord, when we treasure the gifts from our past. May we give thanks as we remember the love and friendship in which they were given. May we give thanks for our ability to see, to touch, and to remember, as we keep in mind that all things have ultimately come from You. In Your name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Mary Daniel <marydee@shaw.ca>
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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