Over the last two days, I’ve been absorbed in memories. I received two boxes of … stuff … from the son of my Dad’s second wife. Dad died in 2007 (Mom died in 1987) and we were inundated with all of the things he’d saved over the years when that happened. To be honest, most of our lives have been spent dealing with memories and stuff. My family is not so great at throwing things away.
Check that. My brother is fantastic at it and my sister is better than me. I still have a lot of learning to do.
I opened the first (small) box and took pictures of the items in there, sent those to Carol and Jamie and asked if they wanted anything. I was met with resounding … silence. Carp (yep, spelled that the way I wanted to). I begged … more silence. More carp. The thing is, they both know how horrible I am with throwing out memories. Rotten siblings.
Then I dug into the much bigger box. Oh. My. Goodness. I would have been fine never knowing this stuff existed. It hadn’t for decades as far as I was concerned. And now, here it is again. I took more pictures and sent them off – met with a great deal of silence. I tried a little bit of shame. That got me nowhere. The thing is, we all have too much stuff in our lives, don’t we?
Now … as ridiculous as it might sound, one big pile of stuff was cards and pictures from my Dad’s retirement in 1995. As I looked through the cards, I was flooded with memories of people from all of the churches he served in Iowa. Names that I hadn’t thought of in years and years, but had been important to our family during the time we spent with them. It’s twenty-one years later and I know that many of them have passed away since then. But wow, did my parents touch their lives. That is so wonderful for me to know.
I’ll scan photographs and some of the cards with hand-written memories. There are several things in there from most all of the churches Dad served. It’s strange to realize that so many years have passed since his retirement, making it that many more years since we’d been in some of those communities.
As I read through the names on the cards and thought about all of the amazing people that we’ve known because of Dad’s ministry, it hit me again that this is why I write the Bellingwood stories (wow, I’m getting all emotional here).
I love these people, these memories, these stories. My life is so incredibly full and wonderful because of the amazing people I’ve been able to know. Bad memories have slipped away and what I will always remember are the ways our lives were touched and the incredible love that was offered to us no matter where we lived.
The stories rattling through my mind today are numerous. As much as we don’t really need anymore *stuff* in our lives, just reading the names of people who participated in our lives is more than enough. I never want to forget those, though I have before and I will again. But this is why I write and tell stories of good and wonderful people.
These are the good and wonderful people that I have known throughout a lifetime.
Jamie and Carol, are you sure you don’t want this stuff? (sigh)