I was going through some old stuff, things that make up a growing family. I was throwing things away that didn’t seem to matter and dividing the things that appeared to in piles for each family member to look at and decide if they wanted to keep what was rightfully theirs. My hope is to dwindle my keepsakes, but to be honest, if they don’t want them, I might still hold on to all the things of the past. So what is the point really?
And another truth not to be overlooked is that one day (only God knows when) I will be called home and those people who are going through the stuff now, will be going through the stuff again when that day comes. That day will come for each of us, not matter how much we hold on.
Why do we hold on to stuff? I get not all people do. Some people take a picture and toss it into the trash as soon as the event is over. They may hold on in their hearts, but the commemorative is of no consequence. Others don’t even bother with a photo of the memento. It’s over, in the trash, next!
I’m not one of those people.
I also get that I haven’t thought about some of those memories in a very long time, not until the stuff took me down the lane that holds the secrets to days gone by. Is that why I keep it, to be reminded of where I was, what I have grown through and how I felt in the moment?
Sometimes I have such a strong yearning for the things of the past that I can’t even find the words to express it. Some memories are so incredibly sweet that the longing grows stronger. Others leave me raw, ripped open wide and deep, pulsating with every breath I take.
While riffling through the boxes, piece by aged piece, I came across a quote I had written down to remember. As I read these words they resonated afresh and anew: “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past”. (After doing research, I’m not sure who originally penned those words but I heard them from Anne Lamott).
Is that why we hold on to things, because we want to change the past? Is holding on to the tangible equivalent to holding on to the things that have come and gone, whether good or bad? Do these things represent holding on to what was and can never be changed?
I’m not sure if that is what I’m doing, but if so, then I pray; Dear Father God, help me to let go of anything that keeps me tied to the past. No matter how good or how bad, it is gone. All we have is today, this moment. Help me, help us to live in the moment and trust You with our whole hearts. Forgive us for holding on to the past because it was better than today, and forgive us for holding on to all the injustices, unfairness and abuse that has occurred in our lives. Those things keep us stuck. I don’t want to be stuck, Lord, but more importantly, You don’t want us stuck. Help us to open our hearts to what You have for us today. Amen.
What are you holding on to?