We live in a material society where the goal seems to be get as much as you can and make a big pile out of it all. One of the growing businesses in the US is Self-Storage. We have run out of room in our attics and garages and rather than shed the load, we value our stuff so much we pay money to store it in someone else’s garage. Here in my town they will even bring a storage shed to your driveway where you can fill it up at your leisure. Then you call the man to come back and he will take the shed to the storage lot for you. What a great idea.
Ever wonder how much of our stuff we will leave behind when our heart stops beating? Well, I know the answer. We will leave everything behind. And then someone will have to wade through it all to decide what has value and what gets tossed. Don’t mean to upset you but one man’s treasure is another man’s junk. I still wonder why my Dad had little pieces of used cutoff pipe saved in the attic. What was he thinking? And, sigh, with the price of scrap copper today I wish I had held on to them.
Here are some good questions to keep in mind as we assign value to our belongings and decide what we will treasure:
- Will the sorters going through my left behind belongings be able to tell anything about me?
- Will they be able to tell at a glance what my treasure was?
I recently had the privilege of looking through some things Homer Miller left behind – his personal Bible and some photo albums where he pasted things he valued and wanted to remember. I was very careful as I turned those pages and discovered Grandpa’s treasures and memories. One conclusion I reached instantly was Grandpa loved his grandkids, no doubt about it. Starting in the 1960s, as his sons and daughters mailed him pictures of the grandkids, Grandpa carefully pasted them into photo albums. He added clippings of events from the local Clay County Free Press and the Charleston Gazette. I even found one very large (ok it was humongous!) 4 leaf clover.
My cousin Jane was the winner with the most appearances in the albums. I just had to share these masterpieces. What a cutie! My brothers and all my cousins where in the books and turning the pages I could watch us grow up a second time. Some are no longer with us and it brings up bittersweet memories to see those pictures. Others have drifted away and we have lost touch with one another. But Grandpa could take that album down from his desk, sit in his big stuffy chair with the light from the front window and leaf through connecting with and thinking about each of us.
I will be going through his Bible for some time to come digesting his notes and learning what he found of interest in Scripture. He used x’s and o’s to mark chapters as he read them and at the end of the New Testament he wrote, “Finished reading New Testament second time 9-17-77”. Not bad for someone who never had formal schooling. Grandpa was obviously concerned about being able to find things he had read and he filled the margins with notes designed to catch his eye as he thumbed through. One of those notes is on page 822, Matthew 6. That passage of Scripture tells us:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Across the top of that page Grandpa wrote, “treasures in heaven laid up”. I think he had a solid value system that worked. He knew what the real treasure in life was – family and the love and togetherness family brings. But especially those grandkids. Hey, cousins, we made the treasure trove!