We're watching the Super Bowl, which always makes me a little sad, because it means that football season is over for another year. The other day E asked me which I'd rather watch, the Super Bowl or March Madness. "Is this a trick question?" I asked, looking from her to Beve and back again. There is no question for them, after all. March Madness--college basketball's equivalent of Christmas, birthdays and every other holiday wrapped up together--is definitely their choice. And I know it. I've lived it a long time. But I love football, even when the two teams playing aren't teams I have a particular liking for and one is one I even hold a certain grudge against (sports grudges die hard, after all, and I still maintain that the Steelers and the refs robbed the Seahawks of the Super Bowl ring in 2006--just saying!). So I'm more than willing to root against Pittsburgh anytime, any way. Sorry to you Steeler fans out there.
But with two minutes left in the season, we've been jumping into the next season. No, not basketball, because that's more than a season but a year-long reason for living, just ask my family! I'm talking about the season of spring-cleaning! Anyone want to do the wave with me? Can I at least hear an Amen, then? Well, it is big news around here, when cleaning out and clearing out are reasons to celebrate, because they're oh-so-very-hard to do. Today, as our pre-game warm-up, Beve and I cleared out the large hall-closet that houses everything from canned goods to china to his old Boy Scout merit badge sash (my dad would be sooo happy that to see it so carefully saved) to paint. Yep, it's a cornucopia (oh yeah, and there's one of those, waiting for Thanksgiving along with some ceramic pumpkins!) in that closet. And today we just plugged our noses and dove in. Now all my crystal candlesticks are on the same shelf with the candles, and the table linens have their own home together as well. Sigh, how I love being organized. I really love it.
I'm greatly encouraged by the space created, and by all the junk we tossed. And thankfully, Beve was willing to let go of more than I expected. He's more of a hoarder than I am. Not a hoarder like that TV show that makes me cringe every time I see a commercial for it. But he often thinks there might be a use for something I'm trying to throw away. This is definitely something that causes a bit of tension between us now and then. But I don't want to cast aspersions on him...if my weaknesses were written about, it'd take a blog post from here to eternity to finish the list. And it's like that for most of us, actually. We're all a combination of strength and weakness, without a doubt. If his worst weakness is to haunt thrift stores and garage sales to find bargains, well, I can certainly live with that.
Anyway, we got about half-way through the closet (I told you it's a very large, well-stocked place!) before my leg gave out...co-incidentally about the same time the game came on. Beve hauled out a whole lot of junk that people will paw through at some Good Will or other, looking for new treasures.
I think we've gotten clogged up with stuff. So clogged up that we've forgotten that we're just here temporarily. You know? I look at the elders, listen to them talk about their things, worry about what happened to this box, where that treasure went, and I think they're holding on so tightly, because these things are slipping from their fingers. This truth hit me the first time when my beloved mother-in-law died. With her watch still on her arm, and her wedding ring just slipped from her finger and handed to her husband. Of all the beautiful things she collected in her life--and they were myriad--she took absolutely none of them with her when she left this world. This is always, always true. We take not a dang thing with us. This house full of things-- books and dishes and technological things and clothing and...everything else. All of it will be left for our children to deal with when we die, if we don't first.
So, if we love them, we'd do better to get rid of what will surely make them crazy--even angry--down the road.
Because what we take with us, the only eternal valuables we have in this life are the relationships which we've been given. Their lives count. Their impact on us, and ours on them--this is what we carry with us into the Throne room of the King. And that, my friends, is a burden worth carrying.
So let that spur us toward our basement...