Standing at the check-out desk of the library, a former piano student turned library employee scanned my selections.
“Minimalism?” she queried, seeing several books on the topic. She’d been to my house and knew it was not my style. I told her I was always looking for ways to lighten my load, to clear the clutter, and to open up spaces. I try.
As I glanced through one of the books showing blank walls and table tops devoid of anything, I tossed it into the return-to-library stack. A different book by another author was more promising, motivating me to evaluate what is needed, what is beautiful, what brings memories, and discard the rest. Ah, I can do this.
Looking at the rooms where Sweet William and I have lived for well over 40 years, we have collected plenty. Books line shelves and sit in stacks on tables. Mementos adorn surfaces and shelter behind glass and in closed cabinets. Nested Corning Ware pans I got when we were newly married are still used regularly, and pots I inherited when my mother died are my go-to cookware.
I glance around and remember. The small birdhouses were painted by the grandchildren when they were small. Collected cookbooks hold treasured recipes from church ladies. A small desk lamp belonged to my dear Aunt Dottie. Delicate cups with saucers behind glass enclosures call to mind tea parties for grown ups and children alike. The figurines I call George and Martha Washington had their place in my parents’ home. Brass candlesticks on the coffee table were a gift from my uncle who liked exotic things.
Sweet William has his own collections of guitars and musical odds and ends, build and repair tools, and those semi-important miscellany to keep just in case we might need them someday.
The extra bedroom houses some dolls our grands used to play with. I keep them because friends have grandgirls who visit. The neighbors who live in the house next door have two little guys who look forward to the old matchbox cars that belonged to our son.
These are things remembered with multiplied memories attached. How can I toss them out? What if I forget what unfolded in my life?
Perhaps an unacknowled blessing is my ability to still remember the places, events, and people peppering our lives. Random things in this old house are triggers, promts that jog my brain and take me back to places visited, celebrations, and most importantly the people who have enriched me in ways I cannot even describe.
Reading the Holy Word I see it oft repeated by the Lord God, “remember.” Remember what the Lord did. Remember how He delivered. Remember that He provided. Remember His faithfulness. Remember He is your Redeemer.
On the night Jesus shared His last Passover with friends, He told them to remember. Drink the cup and eat the bread and remember. And we still share communion with brothers and sisters in Christ in order that we remember the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord.
I need reminders of my spiritual journey, like my spiral note cards filled with Scripture verses, like hand-written notations in my Bible, like art work hanging on the walls of our home, like sharing with a friend how good God has been to me. I need reminders lest I forget.
Very slowly I’m looking in closets and drawers, trying to determine what can stay, what should go. I think about the when and where, the memory attached, the people who were part of it. I’m sure I will never be a true minimalist. It isn’t my nature. This old house is a museum of artifacts and our history, interesting finds, plunder from the journey, a story of who we are and where we’ve been.
In the process, let me hold to the good and true, the beauty of walking with Jesus through valleys and mountains, and recall the goodness of our God. It is well worth remembering.
I am somewhat of a minimalist ( I don’t like clutter) anything that doesn’t have a place gets evaluated and most times purged.. but I can’t help but feel like Home is a story of who we are and a collection of all the things we love.. ( I read that from a sign someone makes on Etsy) I believe that. Our homes tell our story and take on our personalities. I live your home and all your treasures.
I am somewhat of a minimalist ( I don’t like clutter) anything that doesn’t have a place gets evaluated and most times purged.. but I can’t help but feel like Home is a story of who we are and a collection of all the things we love.. ( I read that from a sign someone makes on Etsy) I believe that. Our homes tell our story and take on our personalities. I love your home and all your treasures.
It is so good to read your comment, Keri. What you say is true, “Home is a story of who we are . . . ” I love your home also, the calming and homey feeling I get when I visit you. It tells a story of your family.
I love your way of expressing what you think and feel. So inspiring
Thank you for those kind words, LoAnn. You are a blessing and an encouragement to keep writing.
I remember going through the anxiety of what to keep and what to throw away when we sold our house and moved to a condo. Thankfully my son was part of this process. Since we had five grand sons we had so many trucks and cars. David took his match box cars for his son. The rest we gave to neighbors. The house was where our grandchildren came and played. After we had moved, one of our grandchildren ask if this (the condo) would be our forever home.it was very difficult to let go of tea pots from a mother in law, the swag on the side of a picture made by a friend, a rock painted by my son. The rock stayed and occupies a spot on the nightstand. Love you my friend.
I feel the emotion you describe in turning loose of treasures that evoke memories. Thankfully, we get to kee; the memories. Love to you too, my friend Faye.