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.