Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lettin' Go

I've spent another day unpacking box after box . . after box . . and I'm finding my family and myself to be rather interesting psychological studies.

For one thing, we have just too dang much crap.

Many of you know my penchant for books. As much as I get after my family members (namely Keith and Leslie) for being such packrats, I have to admit, my book collection is perhaps a bit out-of-hand. I have books -- piles of them -- that I've never read. Most of them I intend to read. But some I don't. Why do I keep them? Good question.

Some of them belonged to my parents. (Both of my parents passed away several years ago, for those of you who don't know.) I have big historical overview-type books that my dad had on his bookshelf as long as I remember. I keep thinking, if these books were significant enough to him for him to keep for that long, there's probably something in there of value to me. I should read them! But I don't.

I also have some Grace Livingston Hill novels that my mom apparently enjoyed in her later years (some kind of Christian romance or something, I believe, which you'd find pretty funny if you knew my mom). I keep thinking, Mom enjoyed these, maybe I will, too. I should read them! But I don't. And I doubt I ever will. They went into the garage sale pile.

A couple Christmases ago, I accomplished my first small step of getting over clinging to my parents' stuff. I inherited most of Mom and Dad's Christmas decorations when they died -- mainly, I think, because my sisters were wiser about this stuff than I. Every year, I religiously put them all out (well, most of them anyway--I didn't have room for all of them).

There was a set of three ceramic Christmas angels that I remember always being on the back of our piano when I was growing up. I had them on a shelf in the hallway. Then two of them got knocked off and broken. For a moment, an imaginary knife pierced my heart and I started to cry. Then it occurred to me --you know, I don't like these angels that much. They're not necessarily beautiful, or meaningful . . . they were just Mom's. I don't need these ceramic angels to love Mom and remember her Christmases. Truth be told, I don't need most of this stuff. So I kept the important items and ditched the rest. And it was remarkably liberating!

God willing, I'll be even more liberated before the end of the year. Now, if I can just convince Keith and Leslie . . .

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