Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'm baaack ... again

I just got back into town this afternoon at about 3:30 after a couple of days in Dothan helping Mom and Dad out. When were there over Spring Break in April, it became apparent to us that Mom is still working on getting things back in order after the fire. So while the boys were away at World Changers, the lovely wife (the organization expert) and I decided to take a couple of days (which was about all we had) to go down and see what we could do to support her in the process.

We left Clinton as soon after lunch on Sunday as we could (which is why we weren’t at the Sunday Nights in the Neighborhood thing), and drove the 7+ hours to Dothan. On Monday and Tuesday, while the lovely wife helped Mom with the office, I attacked a short list of stuff that I could do around the house (all one has to do is to look at my office to know that I wouldn’t be much help in the organizational process … except maybe to lift heavy things). The two of them working together made some significant progress, but there were several things that time did not allow them to get to. Meanwhile, I repaired a light fixture, hung a picture on a brick wall, and completely rerouted all the power and data cables for the computer in the office. Wires are one thing I CAN organize and make very neat. In addition, there were still some final things (photos, etc.) from my grandparents’ house to deal with.

In the last few years of her almost 98-year life, Grandmother repeatedly admonished us all not to allow the house to sit unoccupied. “Get what you want, get rid of the rest, then sell the house so that someone can use it,” she said. It has taken longer than we expected for the scattered-all-over-the-place family to claim and remove the heirlooms we wanted. That process can be filled with incredible friction and can spark generational resentment in some families. I’m grateful that’s not the case in mine. I think something my sister said explains why: “I already have the things I really want from my grandparents, and no one can take those things away from me. The rest is nice to have, but it’s really just stuff.” That's not exactly how she said it, but it’s close enough; and it reminds me of something else Grandmother said when my Dad was reluctant to sell the 1973 Oldsmobile station wagon that was the vehicle for so many wonderful family trips when I was growing up: “Keep the memories. Get rid of the stuff.” All 4 of my grandparents left us great memories.

The estate sale was completed over the weekend and we were asked to do a walk-through on Tuesday. The walk through the now empty house was bittersweet and strange. I could almost hear the memories saying, “We can’t stay here much longer. You have to take us with you.” So that's what we're doing. The stuff is gone, but what really matters can never be taken away from us.

That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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