Yesterday I spent the day helping as a crew emptied a house of its contents. It is now empty.
The house isn't the one I was raised in - or even special memories. The memories from that house are pretty rough and ones, although I'd like to forget, that will linger for a lifetime I suppose.
The house has a story, and I'll share it sometime, but the sorting, throwing away, donating process made me really consider what I treasured. When it's my children's turn to sort through my possessions, what would they find?
They would find my grandfather Lonnie's pocket watch. It still works 52 after his death. I didn't know him, but I have a piece of him.
They would find my Big Daddy's book of lessons. Also 52 years after his death, he is still teaching.
They would find my Big Mama's dishes and punch bowl. I might sell the punch bowl but it is really pretty... but those dishes... I ate a lot of meals on those dishes.
They would find my other grandmother's (Ma Butch's) monogrammed playing cards and fur stole and some pearls and her recipe for cornbread dressing which I'm going to try to make gluten free.
They would find my Fisher Price doll house (with the wooden people!) and two rocking chairs from my childhood. I was walking into my house with those yesterday and my husband commented about what I was carrying. "I am carrying my childhood."
They would find lots of Bibles from my parents, grandparents, and one from a great-grandfather. These are probably the greatest treasure: a legacy of faith in Jesus Christ.
It's really not about the things. It's about what is significant about the things. They are part of my history - the fabric of who I am. They are a story of struggle and survival and faith.
There are many many things that I just grabbed and boxed and will sort as I have time, and as I am in the mood. I have lots of musical things. My mother's piano music, her piano (which is designated for my son), my dad's trumpet - (which is what I played), the remains of my parents wedding china.
The process of sorting trash and treasure is rough. As my husband told the crew yesterday, "This all belongs to my wife. She makes the final call." I liked the control but the responsibility was large and choosing to be a part of it, with trash bag in hand, was healing.
At some point, I'll go sort again, but for now I'm giving my feelings a rest.