Hoarding and Memory

I suppose we all want to save things – we are even encouraged to do so. Organizing systems, closet inserts, storage units – even scrapbooking and archival memento boxes are all about saving. We want to hang onto the past in some way.

I’ve said before that I am notoriously unsentimental. I don’t save things. Saving things that have no purpose makes no sense to me. I have memories in my head, not in a box in the closet. Let’s face it – those scrapbooks and old photo albums will mean nothing if we develop Alzheimer’s syndrome. There will be nothing to connect the artifacts and photographs to.

Saving things for memories is editing the past. Instead of those messy memories and bad feelings you might still have about incidents, family, or places, you can edit them down to just the good parts by judiciously saving only certain items. You can create a sanitized past in your memory books and albums. You can keep only the good times.

I don’t mean that is what always happens. But the temptation to clean up your ugly past (we all have some ugliness back there) is too great for many people. I, who don’t keep many mementos, must actually try to forget things. I can’t just make a book of the pretty times and go over that until the story is rewritten in my head.

I don’t talk about the past much, unless it is with close friends or my spouse. God forgave me my sins and errors a long time ago, and will continue to do so as needed, provided I can ask Him. And that’s up to me. God forgets as He forgives. The Book of Life is full of Life – not sin and error and the death of the soul. The Christian who dies in grace, forgiven of sin, will find that the Book of Life is the Book of Love – God’s love for us.

The past is not important. The present is. This is the house we live in – today. Hoarders and savers are trying to keep up appearances, at least in their own minds. They want to be successful, want to be secure, want to be in control – and doesn’t Jesus tell us not to worry about those things, that our treasure is truly in heaven, not on earth?

And the future is just a fantasy. There is no future. Things will happen, yes, but they will barely be in our control. What we want is rarely what we get. God gives us, when we ask, what is right for us. Rooms full of goods, no matter how much they cost, ever compares to the treasure of the Lord.

Keep your things in perspective – the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed is the name of the Lord.

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2 thoughts on “Hoarding and Memory

    • Not everyone who has let accumulated things get out of hand is a compulsive hoarder. Sometimes it’s just that we have trouble making decisions about what to keep,what to get rid of. And sometimes we keep things for the wrong reasons! We keep very few mementos ourselves, simply because we don’t feel the need. My sisters, for instance, keep more, but incorporate them into their household decoration. But my idea of household decoration is a beige stripe in a white curtain, so “stuff” isn’t decorative to me!

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