Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stories

I should preface this by saying that we have never been rich...hardly even middle class by most standards, though rich in life...therefore every purchase, every possession must serve its purpose, even dual purposes, well. When we were young and starting out each acquisition was of significant importance....many possessions were gifts or hand me downs from family or friends. The art work and knick knacks, mementos, books, photos...everything, even the frames for the photos had significance...even sentimental attachment. I loved living in a house full of stories. On any given day...a guest in our home, and there were many, could point to an object or pick up an item of interest and there would be a story to tell, a history that was inexplicably interwoven with ours, with the church, with the people we loved. Glorious stories...stories of miracles and Life, laughter, hope and Love...lots of love.
Upon moving to Atlanta we packed everything up and loaded our truck. All our possessions...all our history, all our stories,...were boxed away into storage while we lived an aesthetically clean life for some months in an apartment. Needing only the bare necessities, we lived a sterile kind of existence with few mementos around us.
Sometime later we purchased our home and began the lengthy process of unpacking, determining the new "look" for our new surroundings and settling in. At first only the basics went into the house..sofas and beds, tables and chairs...no pictures on the walls, no artwork or mementos in place. All those boxes...and there were lots of them, went into the garage to be sorted through at a later date. All those memories and treasures were there awaiting our new "look", our new life...
But during that interval,...
some things happened, big things that changed everything....and by the time we discovered that our new "look" wasn't going to be anything like our past life...it was decided that all that history would be better left in those boxes in the garage.

These days my home is a work in progress...we still aren't rich...we can't just go get a new whatever when ever we think about it...we have to plan and shop and save..and because our history is boxed up in the garage we have lots of empty places in our home and our hearts...places waiting for replacements...waiting for a new persona...we are reinventing ourselves I suppose, or being reinvented by the Lord who is ultimately in charge and the possessions we currently own and display are much more recent...our history is, in some ways...very short. Almost nothing in my house has a story now...everything is straight off the shelves at TJ MAxx or Craigslist and the only story associated with it is how much of a bargain we got it for or how well it matches our decor.

Our community is planning a neighborhood yard sale in May. I knew I really needed to clean out and get rid of some things, though I wasn't exactly sure what, So......

Yesterday I opened those boxes in the garage.....
30 years of stories came rushing out... all with voices clamoring...
Some gently and sweetly,
Some with stabbing pain and grief...
and I have to say, I'm getting rid of a lot of stuff...history...baggage...stories....its almost all going.
Someone else will use these things and never know...the love, the joy,... the grief, they have meant.

It was a hard day yesterday...I felt emotionally wrung out....but today is a new day...new stories waiting to be written..I have drawn a deep breath and put many a piece of history into the Yard Sale pile...cried over a few, smiled over a few...kept a few...to be boxed away again...stories to be kept in the dark...yet in my heart...waiting for a day when it might not be impossible to bring them to the light again.
Stories worth the telling....

17 comments:

Pat said...

This is a most touching post. I can relate to all you are saying, expecially since having lost my mother and her collections of "stories". I've struggled over lettting go of a lot of what was hers, and like you, I've stored a few things away. I have come to realize that things don't define us, they are just like condiments on a table - they add flavor but if what they are added to is not savory or sweet, they do no good. It's the soul of us that matters.

dille2@cableone.net said...

Oh my friend... You should have let us pray you through the Process, would have gladly done so. I love hearing thispart of your Story - the part that says even if it feels fatal, it isn't. There is a difference between finding your style change which I have been going thru. All my furniture belonged to friends so everyday, there they were. That was tough so I hear you.
I hope you love your new life Take pictures of things before you get rid of them and then you will have a photo album of what you loved without having to keep the items. Pull it out on a bad day and let the tears flow. It's the soul of us that matters.

Deborah said...

I can totally relate, I have 6 boxes in my basement (one box is full of pictures.) I have many, many letters, cards, and many other things that lie awaiting their re-immurgance. I don't know when I'll dare to re-visit those places, times, and emotions. Maybe someday. For me, I've left those places, times, and people behind so to re-open that door would be like ripping open a wound that's already healed. Yet, I still bring along those boxes, hmmm interesting.

Constance said...

I am in a constant state of PURGING in our house. We live in a double-wide which means small closets, no attic and no basement, not even a garage! I am too practical at times compared to my Hub, he is his pack-rattin' mother's son!!! Not much has a chance to be packed away unless it's our childhood things. If it ain't servin' a purpose, get it out of here!!!

Once my parents and his dad are gone, I foresee some things coming to live at or house and I have to be sensitive to his family's memories and sentiment. It's just stuff and I try not to put too much importance on things. I'll admit though, there are some things I am crazy fond of!
Connie

Margie said...

great memories! and soon someone else will have their own memories. Sometimes when I walk around the thrift store, a memory comes to me, and I smile, people must think I'm crazy

Vicki said...

Very moving post, Cheryl. I need to talk to you!

Letting go is so hard...easier for me if a particular object has negative memories or pain attached. After reading your post, I think it would serve me well to purge a few things out of our basement...always good to let baggage go, but certain things are harder to part with, like baby pictures or pictures of friends:-) I once threw away a couple journals that I wish now I'd kept, though. Our home, as small as it is, is decorated with family memories.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful wonderful post, Cheryl. I can only imagine what those boxes contained but even that was enough to bring a tear to my eye. Ah, how much of our history is depicted in an object or a photo or a thing, and hard to 'deal with' when it comes to letting go. I'm not there. What a brave woman you are to be in the place you are in.
Jenny J

BekABoo said...

Reminds me of the night in pensacola, during my first year of marriage, when I finally collected all of my things out of that garage and started looking through my childhood, and woke my hubby up crying over pointe shoes!
I'd love to hear some stories, and bet I could jog a few of my own. I bet I'd be shocked to hear of some things that made it into the yard sale pile!

Gili said...

I know what you mean, Cheryl! I've moved so much lately that things I used to think needed to be held on to just aren't worth keeping around. But I also feel that I've been more lenient of the things I let go of because I feel that my past is sometimes too hard to hold on to and its better left in the past...what interesting stories there were :)

Mrs. Mac said...

Moving post, Cheryl. In the end, everything will just burn. Interesting how our memories can transport us to another time and place by just touching or seeing an object. I wonder how God's heartstrings are pulled when he views the good and bad in His humanity here on earth. He wants to toss out no one ... but we all make a choice in life to either follow Him ... or be 'tossed' into the fire at the end. Interesting!

wv: amputizp ... the process of removing clutter in one's life ;)

byhisgracealone said...

I have gone through so many boxes and trunks in the past few weeks since our basement flooded....lots of memories, cards, letters, pictures....my girls love hearing most of the stories...although we too have some unhappy ones...thanks for sharing...I've been back several times to read it...

hugs
donna

Danielle Says Hello said...

This was an awesome post. I traveled this way several years ago. It's a bittersweet journey but what it prepares you for is awesome...the rebuilding is exquisite.

Deb said...

I've been away from the computer for awhile...therefore, I'm just now reading this post. It has inspired me to go through some of the myriad of boxes that I have and toss things, or donate them to The Good Shepherd Center or something. Things are just that - things. The memories live in the heart. So why is it that we're so inclined to hold on to the material possessions?

heidi @ ggip said...

Wow, what a wonderful post. I think you have captured many people's feelings over the years in a way I've never heard before.

Joni said...

I know exactly what you mean. Each stage of life has it's own persona...but it's still not easy letting go of the past, whether the memories were good or not.

This is such an emotional post...thank you for sharing it.

Scott said...

I think it's healthy to move on and live in the present, but it's really so hard to let go of a single memory. I hope you got through this ok.

I saw that video you posted in your previous post. That is what life is all about right there, extraordinary from the ordinary. I loved the ear to ear smiles of the judges.

Terry said...

dear jadi gigi...i have finally made it here to get caught up on your blog and this post has really touched me.
i, myself have so many boxes and it is so hard to part with the past memories...i find that when i try to start going through those things, that i am in a great worst mess than when i started.
i have all my greeting cards from every season, birthdays, christmas,easter, sympathy, thank you.all my old letters since i was 14 and started to be a pack rat, and even all the letters that i had from 50 pen pals that i used to write to....oh so many memories packed in cardboard boxes!
as for all of the gifts i have received through the years and even some wedding gifts...what i have done is just give them away to special people that i know will care for them.
i had so many beautiful english bone china cups.
when we put on mom and dad golden's 50th anniversary at the hall, i would not hear of drinking the tea in styrifoam cups.
no i brought dozens of my fine china cups and the tea sure did taste good.
when we were cleaning up i spotted one of the spanish girls admiring those cups and saucers and i told her. "you choose a dozen of those for yourself"
oh it was just so nice cheryl watching her choose and encouraging her along....i will come back and finish this comment jada...have something to do..love terry