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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Just Stuff

The Internet Cafe welcomes M.J. Corrales today!

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

(Matt 6:19-21 NKJ)

My mother passed away recently, and now my father is not too far behind her.

After a marriage of nearly 64 years, he patiently waits to be with her once more. As I will soon find myself being a “60-year-old orphan,” the situation arises of what to do with all of their stuff. Their belongings, their furniture, their things.

That table I remember from my childhood as being right next to that couch. The throw rug that’s spent the last several decades being continually tripped over but no one had wanted to move elsewhere because that’s where it belonged. And what about that dresser Mom had found when we were out shopping? She was so proud of it, so happy it was just what she was looking for. Where is that to end up? Back in some thrift store for another seeking person to find? Are strangers to touch and own that which once had held such a place in my life?

The memories I have of my parents and my life with them are not solely contained in man-made possessions. I know that. My mind is full of both my parents and so is my heart; they always will be. But the snapshot or two I happen upon or seeing the cabinet which once held my childhood toys are still sufficient to bring on the tears of remembering.

But at what point do we say enough?

Where is the line drawn between stuff that was once owned and treasured and those same memories in the heart? Do I keep this but not this? Do I keep any? Do I keep all? As I wrestle with these questions, it seems the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, is slowly untying the knots that have bound me to my parents all of these years. The love and confidence I have in the Lord and His sovereignty are slowly allowing some emotional distance to develop between what was and what is to be.

I know with the clearest certainty that my mom is in heaven with Jesus and my brother who passed away several years ago. And I also know, with the same certainty, that my dad will join them shortly around that heavenly throne. One of these days, months, years, I know that I will be there, also, and we will all be together again.

But in the meantime, there’s the stuff of this world, of my parents, to contend with. I shall perhaps keep a bit here and there but I need to let go of the majority of it. I know that. My parents are more than their possessions, and I know I will be able to eventually deal with it. However, I also know that my focus should not ever waver from the One who owns it all.

Lord, help us to keep our eyes on You, and not our possessions that we have here. We need to think on things above, things that will last forever, even as we shall, in Your holy presence. Amen.

M. J. Corrales is managing director of The Glory Foundation, a philanthropic organization funded totally by business and private donations. Ms. Corrales has been writing for many years with a concentration in biblical studies and devotionals. She can be contacted through her website



Blogger Denise said...

Sweet, sweet blessings to you dear.

December 27, 2008 at 1:58 AM  
Blogger Susan Storm Smith said...

My sister, this was an absolute joy and delight for me to read on this early morning. I especially like the phrase of becoming a 60-year old orphan. What a loving Father to have allowed you the love and challenges of elderly parents.

And how we don't move things that become inconvenient, because "they just belong there". What great thoughts and stirring of the imagination today. Thanks!

December 27, 2008 at 6:58 AM  
Blogger Betsy Markman said...

This was beautifully written. It is amazing how "things" can hold our memories in them! It is freeing, though, to realize that the memories are truly in our hearts, not in our things.

It's good of the Lord to understand our feelings, and to help us let go gently give us time to work through it. May God bless you on that part of your journey.

December 27, 2008 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger LisaShaw said...

M.J. my heart and prayers are with you.

As one who has seen my brother when he was 23 in 1994 pass away and my Grandmother in 1990 and my Grandfather last year 2007 go to the LORD, I can see your heart in the memories of them. I considered my Grandparents to be my parents and so the pain was very real but the peace was found in knowing they are with the LORD worshipping Him upclose. What I have are precious memories until I see them all again.

I pray that you too hold on to those precious memories. I pray for strength and comfort for you as you continue this journey.

Bless you.

December 27, 2008 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger Sandy at God Speaks Today said...

That was beautiful.

Sometimes it's good to ask the questions, even when we can't tie it up neatly and perfectly at the end with all the answers.

I think questions like this keep us tethered to Jesus.

I have the same emotional attachment to my "stuff" of childhood...especially the stuff associated with my mom, who passed away in I completely get this.


December 27, 2008 at 9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful! Simply wonderful!
Good question too - Where does your focus lie?
I have had to be the executor of 2 estates with my husband and I can tell you it is very difficult on those left to sort through a lifetime of memories.
My suggestion: Keep the 'family history' items - photos, written stories, recordings, etc and maybe 3-5 items from your childhood.
Knowing where they are now, we need to remember to purge and let go of our 'earthly' items.
Always think - "What am I leaving behind for my children, grandchildren, etc.? and will it burden them in any way?
I choose to leave a godly legacy and model Christ in me, not stuff.
So purge away, clean out the garage and all the 'stash' you have today. Blessings, Marilyn

December 28, 2008 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger ktwalden said...

Beautifully written post! At some time or another, each of us have or will have to answer these important questions. Your challenging comments will help us keep the right perspective during these emotional times. God bless you!

December 28, 2008 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

I greatly needed this challenge today. Wow, this is poignant and relevant. Anointed.

December 30, 2008 at 12:46 PM  

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