Posted by: graceunbound | January 2, 2009

Looking waaaay back…

I thought I was done reflecting; and then my husband decided to do some more organizing in our storage closet. It’s one of THOSE closets where everything we never use gets put. Boxes of old textbooks, memorabilia from trips, my husband’s collection of Archie comics…who knows what wonders lurk in the depths of this closet? And will we have the nerve to finally purge them, or will we continue to hold onto them for the flimsiest of reasons? (Yes, Archie comics…I’m looking at YOU.)

So, just what did I find in my trip through the past?

Cards. Lots and lots of cards. First of all, every card or note my husband has ever given me as well as the ones I’ve given him. They make quite a pile and as the pile grew I kept saying, “Have we REALLY been together long enough to accumulate all these cards?” Nine and a half years doesn’t seem like much, but measured in cards nine and a half years of love looks pretty impressive. By the time we get to 50 the cards are going to be forcing us out of the house. Flipping through them I was once again reminded of how very much I love my husband, a love that has grown and changed as the years go by. I was also reminded that I should probably keep better track of the cards I give him since I bought him the exact same card for both our second and third anniversaries. I also vow to retire phrases such as “I love you with every beat of my heart.”

More cards. Every single baby shower/baby gift card received for both of the boys. I looked at them and thought, “Why am I keeping these?” Well, what if I throw them away and when they are adults they want to see them? OK, lets be realistic; have I ever ONCE in my life thought, “Gee, I wish my mom had kept some of the cards she got when I was a baby”? No? OK, into the trash they go; I’m pretty sure my boys are not going to grow up missing them either. They were a sign of the outpouring of love and best wishes at that time in our life, but I don’t need the cards to remember that. We are part of community and even when that community has been spread out from state to state the connections of love have been there.

Mother’s Day cards. Well, duh, of COURSE I’m keeping those! That’s what mothers do, isn’t it?

Postcards and letters from friends dating back to my college years. Keep or toss, keep or toss? I’m a realist and an avid declutterer so my mind said “You aren’t ever going to look at or read them, so toss them.” And I did. But in looking through them I was amazed at the love and concern with which I was surrounded; a community of caring that I couldn’t see at the time. When I was trying my hardest to run away from God he was surrounding me and holding me. And he was already molding me into his design, I just didn’t see it. You know, maybe I’ll keep those letters a little bit longer.

Pictures. Some of Gates when he was five weeks old. (I am ashamed to say, the ONLY professional photographs that have ever been taken of either child. If you count Walmart as a professional photograph.) They are the sweetest pictures; he fell asleep after the first one and we couldn’t wake him up, so we just rearranged him for every shot. Other pictures of friends’ children. Wow, the baby girl in this one is a freshman in high school now! And this little boy? I think he’s close to six feet tall now. Time passes. Friends drift in and out of our lives, children grow. I’m learning to relax into that passing, to not hold so tightly to the way things are that I miss the beauty of what is to come.

Term papers. Am I the only one who has kept every single paper ever written for an English class? I’ve got a folder full of them, both research papers and creative writing assignments. Surprisingly enough, the creative writing assignments don’t make me shudder that badly. Yes, the writing was immature; I was immature. Yes, I comma spliced all over the place and faltered at the moments that needed to be strongest. But as I re-read them I am amazed at the potential that was there, at the gift of words that I wanted desperately to possess and didn’t realize I already had.

Looking back I can see the beginnings of the picture in the tapestry God is weaving of my life. I don’t know what he is weaving right now, but if the past is any indication it will be beautiful.



  1. This is just great. Angela suggested coming over here because you write so nicely and are encouraging and uplifting and all that nice stuff. So I come here expecting to be edified, and what do I get???
    Did you KNOW I need to clean out and organize the “junk-I-mean-storage” room? Did the Holy Spirit tell you to write this post just for me? Is He after me on this clean-up job, too???
    Seriously, it’s very nice to meet you. Thanks for sharing your heart here. *grin*

  2. yeah, so I preach simplicity and have it as a goal. But your post brought up the fact of the basement. I have a long way to go. Never ever claim to be a perfect practitioner. Think wesley said, preach beyond yourself…

    In the basement I have boxes of notes, papers, etc. From nine years of higher education. Cards, that’s more the wifes end, papers, books, well…

    I am particularly proud of one Critical Theory paper I got an outstanding grade on dealing with postmodernism (literary) applying it to the Turn of the Screw as an undergrad.


    That’s it Im not going to read this anymore, too much application! 🙂

  3. I am a saver too…and well decluttering is a good thing…love letters and mothers day cards and all the handmade stuff from my little people…

    thanks for bringing a smile to my face

  4. Ha! I never intended to function as the voice of conviction…but if the Holy Spirit is nudging…GO CLEAN YOUR CLOSET! 🙂

    Oh, and all the special stuff from my kids now goes into special ‘remembering’ boxes. I already need bigger boxes. Just can’t let go of that blanket that is more holes than thread. (That and the owner still wants it occasionally.)

  5. Wow!! I am not the only one holding on to my English papers. I have journals full of poetry and short stories that I will never part with yet when I look at who I was I too see God working… Thank you for sharing this journey into your past. I think I might need to go through my stuff, too. Just not today, lol!!

  6. This was so so good. I’m pretty much the opposite of a pack rat. I do save some things, but there are very few items that grip me enough to keep. However, when I do come across items from my past, I tend to harshly critique “past me” and spend time lamenting what I cannot change. Your approach is so much healthier.

  7. You’re a beautiful writer. I have no doubt that your old creative writing assignments didn’t make you shudder! I’m looking forward to making plenty of future visits back here… thanks for the reflections… and yes, the conviction. 🙂 Off to clean that closet, now!

  8. My grandmother kept EVERY card people gave her as well. I have a basket I keep with those special cards I don’t want to throw away. Someone said they kept them in a notebook. You put things so well. Thank you!

  9. Thank you for visiting my blog and your sweet comments.

    There’s something about looking through old cards and pictures and remembering… It stirs something deep within.

    Loved this post. Thanks for sharing.


  10. I have to say, first of all, that I love the title of your blog. Grace Unbound. I nick named myself Gracelily, because my middle name is Sue, which means, gracefullily or full of Grace. I’ve been shown so much grace from the Lord, which I appreciate so. I shall visit your place often and place a link to it on my blog. I’ve only read one, but I will be back.
    God bless.

  11. How special going through all that must have been. Even if you tossed some of it, you got to re-live those feelings. Totally awesome!

    God is the master weaver and it will be so cool to get to see the whole tapestry one day 🙂

  12. Those cards and papers are little pieces of our lives that matter so much. After my husband died this past year I found every love letter I had ever writen him in his dresser drawer.
    Then when I went through his bag for work a few days ago I found 2 love letters that I had wrote him years beofre in his pouch with all ogf his favorite things.

    He had unfolded and folded them so much that they were ready to fall apart.

    I sat on the bed and cried for a long time. Touched that he loved me enough to carry something I wrote to him around every where he went. Our words are so powerful..
    Loved your site.

    xoxo Nita

  13. Nita- I am so sorry for your loss. How incredibly special to find those things as a reminder of the love he had for you. Blessings to you.

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