Gratitude Day 114 – Actions vs. Belongings

20180907_195552Sat., Sept. 8, 2018

Luke 15:13- (Jesus said,) “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and took a trip to a distant land, and there wasted all his money on parties and prostitutes.

This winter, I began going through the mountain of totes and boxes of things from my Mom’s. Some have moved multiple times. This winter, Hubby Rick informed me that if I didn’t get through them, he was putting them in the garbage. All of them.

Motivated, I began earnestly going through tote after tote, box after box. I’ve discovered some cool things, including things dating back to my great-grandparents. As there are a few totes with some of my things in them, I have basically been sorting through four generations of items. Six if you include the generations younger than me in my family.

Seriously.

I’m still navigating what is going to happen with all this stuff. I have piles designated for various family members. I am trying not to become overwhelmed with the process; because it’s been a process.

Slowly, I have made progress. I thought I was doing pretty good. Until this week. We are also remodeling a chunk of our upstairs which Hubby Rick has been diligently working on. The remaining totes and boxes (about 1/3 of the original mountain) are just outside by the remodeling area. A couple days ago, Rick “reminded” me that I need to make progress on my project as well, which he feels has stalled.

Fair enough. I’m back trying to make sense of all this stuff.

An upside? I am being more discerning about the personal items I am keeping. I am keeping too much. I will need to make a second pass through and get them more organized. Today, as I went through another tote, I had the freedom to throw away more than I would have ten years ago.

Why? I’m going through similar items my Mom kept for 80 years and wondering why she kept it.

Will anyone want to see a kindergarten art project in the future? I don’t think so. I am not an artist now and I wasn’t an artist then.

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I have also been reflecting upon this saying I ran across this week:

Our actions are our only true belongings.

Read it again, please.

Our actions are our only true belongings.

Nothing like a good hit-you-in-the-gut quote that helps you think a bit more clearly about life and how we live it.

Isn’t this saying true? While we want to place value on a cool piece of furniture or irreplaceable gift from a loved one, can we take any of it with us?

In the over 150 funerals I have officiated, I seldom have spoken about a person’s possessions: a favorite car, special boat or highly-treasured glass bowl. What I do speak about? What people have done. The character traits people remember. Special memories created with loved ones.

Maybe Rick had it right. Should have everything just gone to the garbage? If actions are more important than belongings, why am I spending hours sorting things from the last 10+ decades?

I think out of respect for my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. I feel others might enjoy some of the things I’ve discovered. Family history I don’t want lost. Words written by ancestors which speak of their character, values and priorities. Cards and letters that have been passed down from generation to generation which speak to values I pray I have embodied. Funny things that jog a special memory.

I am acutely aware that my legacy won’t be most represented by a beautiful scrap book. It will be held by my actions. How I reacted in difficult times. If I remained humble, honest and true to my core values. How I treat others.

When Jesus told the story of the prodigal son, he shared how the young man took his belongings and squandered them away. When he crawled back to his father, he was welcomed with open arms and unconditional loved. The belongings were gone. The father’s actions overrode the value of any earthly possession.

I pray that I keep this perspective as well. I will finish (?) this project, best as I can. Yet, I pray I don’t loose sight of my actions speaking louder than any of these possessions that I’m going though.

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For the reminder of actions over belongings, I am grateful.

(I didn’t have the guts to take a picture of the boxes and totes yet to sort. Sorry!)

It is so easy for us to focus on some possession and put lots of value and stock in it. Help us remember, Lord God, Jesus’ words. Relationships and actions are more important. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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