I have a friend who is moving soon (hopefully). Her family is getting ready to put their house on the market. I am helping her get her house ready by sifting through her stuff. I know, I know! More stuff!
My friend has two teenage boys. They have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. Big stuff. Fun stuff. School stuff. Sports stuff. You name it. Everyday kind of stuff. We are all surrounded by stuff.
It seems we spent a lot of our time together shuffling as we were sifting. We had three basic piles, the usual keep, give away, throw away. We spent a couple of hours in her youngest son’s room. So many things we found had sentimental value. She would tear up as she shared the memories she holds close in her heart. I’m thinking it may take awhile to get through this task.
I have a different opinion on stuff these days. It’s not that I don’t like stuff. I do! I have lots of it. Just not as much as I once did. Several times I commented that I no longer had the toys, the baby items…the whatevers…and she asked me if that was hard on me. Not so much anymore.
The funny thing about stuff is if you get rid of it, even the really important stuff, after some time goes by you forget you ever had it.
One of the most important lessons I learned about stuff came six years ago. I went with a youth group as a chaperon to New Orleans to gut houses a year after Hurricane Katrina hit. The place was still utter devastation. There were sections of town that had no power one year after the storm. There were a bunch of houses with FEMA trailers sitting in the front yards.
Another thing that was in many of the front yards was all the stuff that had been inside the house. Piles and piles of decaying, moldy, smelly stuff. All the years of accumulated items reduced to a pile sitting on the front lawn for all passers-by to see.
That memory came back to me many times the last few years. Stuff is just stuff. It can be replaced (or not) over the course of time. The real treasures in life are the ones that live in your heart.