Wednesday, September 5, 2012

No more the hoard!

I've lately become addicted to the Hoarders shows on cable. You know the ones where treasure trash is piled waist deep in all rooms of the home and no emergency rescue personnel could ever get in to save people and pets if the time came? Yeah those shows. I have hoarding tendencies, as is evidenced by my dear husband's summer drive to 'declutter' our basement. He has made beautiful progress, and I'm even on the bandwagon trying to get stuff out of the house that I've held onto for too long and for no good reason.

I sympathize with the people who proclaim they can't stand to throw away something that might be useful by 'someone.' I have many of my own 'treasures' from childhood, and so many more stored at the house in which I grew up. I come by the tendency honestly. My grandmother is a child of the Depression (note, the big 'D'.) She definitely has the school of thought that we throw nothing away until it is worn out and has no foreseeable, just-in-case use. Hence, I am using my breaktime at work this month to digitally scan moldy, musty newspapers. Ugh. Still, they have documentation of my academic successes as a child. To whom am I wanting to prove those long-ago, and mostly-forgotten achievements? Certainly, no one will have a use for those papers, right?

This morning in my email blast, I was pointed to this beautiful piece of scripture which calls us to consider why the townspeople might want to keep Christ to themselves, rather than share his healing and teachings with others: 

After leaving the synagogue Jesus entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them.
As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. Demons also came out of many, shouting, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah.
At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, "I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose." So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea.-- Lk 4:38-44
Now, you might be asking what that has to do with the hoarding tendencies I described above? I wouldn't have drawn the conclusion myself, so thankfully the scripture came with a reflection written by a Notre Dame alumna:

The Kingdom of God is a call to seek a “we” that extends beyond our borders—psychological as well as geographical. Whatever we hoard, be it money, access to health care, environmental resources, even medals at the Olympics, we are taking away from another.
So the way I see it, I'm taking away from others when I hold onto the bed frame from my childhood, or keep the fondue pot that has seen daylight outside its original box exactly once. The list can go on, and it does. My worst/best hoard right now is my mom's clothing. She died in May 2011, and I collected her clothes, discarding the worn and stained, knowing that Goodwill would not accept them. I bagged the rest and brought them home, with the best intention of pulling select items to use to make memory quilts for my brothers and me. For over a year the clothes languished on my front porch. Now, I have sorted them by type, and have sent some on to Goodwill. I must begin to cut and plan the quilts, and I especially hope to be finished by Christmas, Mid-March when my brothers have birthdays, latest.

I talked with my husband about the clothes. I laundered in hot water and used fabric softener--they still smell of my mother, which in his mind is a good thing, and something perhaps only I can detect. He says it's driven by good memories and a heart that misses her deeply. He's right. So, as you're thinking about what you need, what you need to keep to yourself, ask yourself the reflection questions that were part of my email this morning:

What do I want to keep for myself rather than share with others for their betterment? Where does my definition of “we” end? 

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