I don’t understand. At least my dad had a reason, he was a child of the Depression. And dear Uncle Lou, whose oft repeated vow, “This year I’m going to clear out the cellar”, brings smiles to those of us with similar tendencies. But what prompts the rest of us to collect like a bunch of love sick Bowerbirds? Are we gerbils frantically shredding up nesting materials? Is it survival tendencies gone awry?
The closest I came to an answer was a comment from a very tidy, organized friend. “Most of my stuff holds no emotional attachment for me”. Horrors! Everything means something, doesn’t it? Those envelopes containing our boys’ baby curls, a flipping acrobat toy I picked up at Woolworth’s when I was ten, my marble collection. I can tell the story of each one. To totally strip objects of emotion means, wow, you could live like a hermit, and it wouldn’t make any difference. Or is that it?
God didn’t make flowers in black and white, food doesn’t taste like cardboard, birds sing real songs. All very good, and meant to be enjoyed. All reflective of their Creator, and shadowed mirrors of the future. But it’s not the thing itself but what it means that gives it value. So somewhere there’s a balance. Where you own the stuff, but it doesn’t own you. Unlike Citizen Kane, who, in seeking to possess all, lost Rosebud.
So I’m thinking, savor while you have them, but hold lightly. And need be, let these go. All will pass away. There’s something even better ahead.