One’s perspective about things changes over the years of one’s life. At least it has for me. I used to be a thing chaser to some degree. Before the credit card a person had to chase things that the banker would loan you money to purchase. So as a minister, missionary, administrator I held a limited catalogue of things. I have been surprised by the results of my chasing.
I am one of the people that watched the aging of my parents up until one died because of a blood clot thrown to his brain and the other died of congestive heart failure. Their deaths forced our family to dispose of their things. And, frankly, that depressed everyone. I was surprised to see how many things no one wanted or had room to store. Nearly twenty years after their deaths I can finally write about this.
I got a tad emotional and possessive with my mother and father’s things–a few of their things. I kept Dad’s handsome synthetic ruby wedding ring, a blue denim jacket two sizes too small for me, a few family antiques, Mom’s letters from me while I lived in Colombia, our family Bibles, family picture albums, several of Dad tools and ties that were also on life support, Dad’s pickup, and other things I struggle to remember.
The biggest truth I learned from dispensing with their worldly goods was actually something I had read years and years ago. “Don’t pile up treasures on earth, where moth and rust can spoil them and thieves can break in and steal. But keep your treasure in Heaven where there is neither moth nor rust to spoil it and nobody can break in and steal. For wherever your treasure is, you may be certain that your heart will be there too!” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Where do most things end up following one’s death? Sold at an estate sale (and boy do I see a lot of those living in “God’s Waiting Room” in Sun City AZ), given to a charity, taken to a dumpster, or put in a drawer of a relative. Isn’t that sad? Yes, in a way, but eventually everything accumulated in our lives also has a life time and will pass away in a few years or generations.
Marji and I have hastened the process. The most precious of our things are now displayed or hidden in the drawers of a 800 sq. feet home and a lock box in Sun City, Arizona. Nope, we rent no storage shed. Most of the things pictured in our photo albums no long exist except as memories. The houses we loved are now inhabited by others. But most of the things we still cherish are only important to us and I have come to terms with the fact that no thief will bother with our stuff and even the moths take up residence in other closets. None of the people in our age group visit us with sparkling eyes expressing the notion–“Gosh I wish I had your stuff.”
But I know we have some unique things stored in heaven and I know they are really the only things that are eternal. Does that sound a little dreamy, pie-in-the-sky like? I find more and more of my friends interested in the yet to be given rather than what I can get. I predict someday everyone will understand the validity of this “thing” thing and quit chasing after another thing and a bigger place to store it, and concentrate on storing up treasures in heaven by focusing on the spiritual dimension of our life.
Note: The reality of aging makes me sad and happy. I didn’t write this blog to make me or the reader feel tristful, but to solidify some of my thoughts about the inevitable shift in the sand upon which we stand.