Sunday, April 12, 2015

Leaving it Behind

My friend, Julie, and I spent all day Friday snooping around the local flea markets.  I was looking for pieces that could be used for display in the new gift shop and Julie was just doing some general browsing.  It was a good excuse for us to spend the day together and, of course, to eat.  I can't think of any occasion or activity onto which we can't tack some eating.

Anyway, we looked through store after store and room after room of old artifacts, cool finds, and a good measure of just pure junk.  We saw it all.  We walked through pieces from every decade, every walk of life, every category, and it all had one thing in common.....they were all things that were useful and important to someone at some point and now they weren't.  Each piece had a story and each had been connected to a different life, family, and place in history.  They'd all served their time, put in their hours, fulfilled their purpose.

We saw an old, chartruse recliner that I imagined some insurance salesman or banker sat in and watched Walter Cronkite everyday after work.  An old, iron crib that held babies long before any safety regulations came into play.  Lovely rust colored Tupperware canisters that probably perfectly matched the floral wallpaper in some early 70's kitchen.  Crystal bowls and tea cups that were likely wedding gifts given to couples, who are long gone now.  A washboard that scrubbed dirty, farming clothes before life became a little easier for us.  A CorningWare coffee percolator in the blue cornflower pattern, which surely made a pot or two for the Avon lady and the preacher in its day.  There were Coke bottles that were probably sipped from on the porch of an old country store.  And a screen door, through which I could see somebody's mama yelling for her kids to come to supper. 

There were artillery boxes, maybe, from a battlefield in WW11.  Beaded curtains from the room of some 60's teenager, who's a grandmother now.  There were dolls that belonged to little girls, who are surely old ladies today.  Cast iron skillets that had probably browned a lot of cornbread to go with some fresh, garden vegetables.  A sewing basket full of old buttons from who knows what.  Antique luggage that may have gone on a train trip or was loaded into the trunk of an old Hudson.  Pedal cars and rusty trikes that haven't been ridden in half a century.  Colorful broaches worn to church by someone's grandma on the day they were baptized.  Car tags, record albums, rusty tools, iceboxes, kerosene lamps, window frames, dressing tables, old radios, golf clubs, a wooden wheelchair, wash tubs, antique fishing lures, dressers, toy trucks, wooden ironing boards, crates, trunks, tea sets.......the list goes on and on.
I thought about what all I'll leave behind when I'm gone.  As we made our way through the maze of clutter, I contemplated how someone will likely rummage through my stuff one day and make a small keep pile, a bigger giveaway pile, and a gigantic trash pile, which will most likely require a dumpster rental.  There will be things that our children will want....things that will remind them of home.....and maybe a keepsake or two that a future grandchild would like to have, but, for the most part, I bet a lot of the things we've acquired, worked hard for, and put a lot of time into, will end up scattered here and there with little value or use to anyone.   

Makes you think about how we spend our time.   We spend a good bit of it acquiring all these things that we think we've got to have and then, when we're gone, they get dispersed in every different direction....mostly irrelevant and obsolete.  We put a lot of our concentration on the stuff that will get cleaned out about a month after we leave this earth and, sometimes, not near as much on the things that will remain and make a real difference.  Something seems awfully backwards about that.  So much time and money are spent on our houses, hobbies, clothes, jewelry, furnishings, cars......things that will be of no use to anyone in 30 years.......and I'd say a lot less of our resources are spent on loving, giving, helping, teaching, volunteering, and ministering. 

I want to leave behind more than just a bunch of stuff that no one knows what to do with.  As our youth minister said today.....the legacy that we'll leave is being built today by our actions, the decisions we make, the use of our time, and the words we say. 

Our legacies can be left in the hearts of our children or our nieces and nephews or our students.  In the soul of a lost friend.  The ministry of a church.  The hearts of desperate strangers.  The needs of the poor.  In showing God's love.

We can invest our resources in things destined for scrap yards, garage sales, flea markets, and dumpsters, but, maybe, there are better places to make our largest deposits.

"Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there is your heart also." Matthew 6:19-21                            



  1. Food for thought, our possessions. I've seen way to many family pictures at thrift stores and estate sales, so sad. I think what I have is enough to my standards, which to some, not enough. There will always be upgrades to everything and it'll be never ending. I agree, giving is your time to deposit to what is better. Love this post Joni, Kathleen in Az

    1. I agree.....our definition of "enough" has gotten to bloated! Thanks, Kathleen!

  2. Discovered your blog through BooMama. I love this post and love your blog. I hope you don't mind, but I'm sharing this on my facebook page today. Thanks for sharing your talent.

    1. Of course, I don't mind, Lynnette! I'm so glad you found your way over here and I appreciate your encouragement!