I think as I am getting older, my mind works a little different. With the mind reorganizing and adjusting to being slightly over middle age, it resonates my soul. THINGS mean more to me.. Not STUFF, but THINGS… Stuff is just temporary items that have been collected over the years.. THINGS are words, stories, memories that you hear and collect and hold close to your heart.
Maybe time is the difference. When I was younger, my time was spent doing for the children. There wasn`t a whole lot of extra time. It was a great season of growing and watching and learning life. with these little ones that He had given to us. Now, with that busy season of them growing up done, with them all grown up and out on their own, this new season lends time for me to be intentional with friends. Time to do life with others, and to see how God works through these relationships. “Be still and listen”, that is what He tells us to do. Be still and listen to Him, and be still and listen to those He places in our lives.. It is a great gift to give someone. The gift to listen. So many treasures are waiting, hidden in deep conversations if we take the time to listen.
I have watched and listened and learned from a dear friend recently, as she and her brothers have tried to close out the family home and all that it had meant to them over these many years. It was out of town, so it was hard for them to coordinate schedules to get there often. But now, was the time. The pressure was on for them to get it done.
The home place and property was way overgrown with trees and grass and weeds, they even spotted some “critters” who had moved in… UGH… most of the visits resulted in a few tics who had found their way onto their bodies. The stories she told, were of hard days, going through all the rust and dirt, the heat was unbearable, and the critters were a bit unsettling to know they were there, lurking under the rubble, but they persevered . They had to go through it all to be sure there was nothing of significant value left.. Old letters were found, car signs from her Daddys car business and some more treasures. One of the last pieces to the big puzzle is a great old, rusted safe. They have to get in there to be sure nothing is left. It is so cool to look at but heavy, and none of them need a big safe, so it will be left, opened and cleaned out, for the new owners.
As they remember and talk about the youthful days they spent there, one by one, things were found that went with those memories. Her Daddy could build anything. He had built them a zip line from the trees, that was still there. They had played in the creek in the afternoons and climbed on the big boulder rocks still there. The story that I loved the most was about the little chapel he had built in the woods for them to play in. It was still there, sort of…
The frame had slowly tilted from all the years left in the woods, and it wasn`t safe to go in, but as they opened the door to take a peak, the little cross he had built to go in it, was still there, hanging inside the door.
What a hidden treasure!!! She lovingly removed the cross and took it to the car to save. I just love this picture in my mind, of all the hours three young children would run through the woods, in and out of this sacred little chapel, playing on those carefree days.
The little chapel will soon be gone to new owners and probably taken down, but the cross which held all the memories would soon be in its new home with her to enjoy .
The pickers from Birmingham must have had the most glorious day as they were invited to meet down there and go through the rusted treasures to find things to repurpose and share with others. This stuff which was once collected with love from their Daddy, was now being shared. It had no place, no room in their lives but the THINGS that the “stuff” represented, the memories that were formed on this property, would always be alive in their hearts.
As we talked about the days they spent there, we both remembered those days back then when ” it ” happened. We both had been at one time or another, disrespectful or talked out of line and we did not forgot the consequences that would come. Oh the memories of picking out our own little switch from the yard, and running our hands down to remove the leaves that were budding and then handing them over to our Daddies. I don`t necessarily remember the switching, just the time that led up to it. From when I knew I had been caught doing something that I should have known better, to the time our eyes met and he told me to go outside to the bush and get that branch. Oh, the anticipation for it to be over and not to ever do that again… I am sure in his mind, that was the punishment, the dread, the knowing, the fear of it all, instead of the light switching that came… Today, children would sue if that happened, but the character built by discipline back then, is what is lacking in the world today. Switchings may be old time, but discipline is needed so badly with our culture. My Daddy would not ever tolerate any disrespect toward my mother. No questions asked. We knew better…We would NEVER have thought we were entitled to anything, but rather it was something we had to work toward and earn. So, yes, times have changed and not all for the better.. These sweet treasures of memories, molded us. They made us who we are. It is so fun to go back and see the things that made your friend, who she is today. Character building treasures..
Seasons come and go. Some are fun to remember, others we might not want to so much, but sharing these treasures of the past with friends and sharing the gift of listening is priceless. We were not created to do life alone… Thankful for those He places in my life to love on and to be with. Cherish those things that have meaning and let the STUFF go…
Have a wonderful Thursday!!