When my son’s future wife visited our home for the first time, she was helping in the kitchen after our meal. One serving of cooked carrots was left, so I dumped it in the sink to send through the garbage disposal.Later she told me she was horrified at what I’d done. Her mother (and mine) had always saved every bite that was left. They either ate it or threw it out when it developed mold, but they never threw it out when it was still edible.
Lately I’ve been thinking about my own habits of throwing things away. When a small amount of food remains, my evaluation is whether or not I’ll eat it for a future lunch. If I know I won’t, I have no problem throwing it out.
Recycling has been a great blessing to me, for that isn’t really throwing something away. I can recycle unopened junk mail without hesitation. When Steve, who throws things away easily, washes a glass jelly jar or a Dole grapefruit jar, I can drop them in the recycle bin. When my printer spews out 20 unwanted copies of some website, into the recycle basket they go (unless I’m short on scratch paper at that time.)
Steve seems to think I discard very little. I do have a rule he likes about calls from Amvets or Vietnam Vets when they want to pick up household goods or used clothing. I always say yes if I’ll be in town that day. That motivates me to get rid of things that need to go. Also, I usually have a bag or box that I’m filling along the way.
So what do I cling to? Things that are beautiful or sentimental or comfortable. Those seem like good reasons to me.
Beautiful but unnecessary? Greeting cards. Some are remarkable, with a beautiful scene or sentiment. How can I throw those away? And yet I never go back to look at them again. Since my health projection is to live into my 90s, perhaps someday I’ll be sedentary enough to have time to go through them and reminisce.
Scarves. I admire scarves but rarely wear them. I’ve been given gorgeous silk scarves that I never wear. I always think perhaps I will–some day.
Comfortable? In 2004 I bought a used sleeveless white cotton blouse that was perfect for our trip to the sweathouse that was the youth camp in Thailand. It’s the coolest, most comfortable blouse I’ve ever owned. Since I am it’s second owner, of course it looks pathetic. I haven’t even worn it this year. But I may yet. It’s perfect for hot yard work. We’ll surely have some more hot weather before fall sets in for good.
Sentimental? Anything my children–and now grandchildren–made in elementary school. Demitasse cups given to me by a friend whose cancer took her from me three years ago.
My dad’s haircutting kit that he bought in the 50s to cut my brothers’ hair. The old electric clippers groan when turned on and are never used, but I can’t discard it. Too many fond memories of cutting Daddy’s hair the last 15 years of his life. (“When are you coming to visit?” he’d say. “I need a haircut.” Our little joke. We lived four hours apart.)
Blue pitchers. They no longer match any decor in my house, and yet I cannot let them go. They are old and still I value them.
Kelsey saw the electric magnifying mirror in my bathroom. “You still have that?” she said, laughing. She drove alone for the first time in 1997–to buy my Mother’s Day present. She was excited about buying it. The light never worked, and it’s large and bulky, but I keep it on my bathroom shelf. Sentimental.
So I guess the greatest blessing to consider in all this is that God doesn’t discard us, just because we don’t measure up to certain standards. His grace covers that distance for us. Christ’s blood takes away all our inadequacies so that we are clean and pure in God’s sight.
I’m so grateful that God wants to hold on to me. I want to hold on to him, too.
How about you? What material items do you find it hard to discard?
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