Aug 31, 2014

Sentimental Sin

And so I sneak in a second post for August, getting it in just under the wire! ;)

Summer is officially over in a couple of days...I guess I should say, summer break!  This has been the first year where we had an obvious beginning and end to it - being as last year was the first year for the girls being in school....I wonder if that's why it seemed to pass so quickly?!?

And in a couple of days my oldest little ladies will return to their sweet school.  We were already back the other night for an open house, where we met and mingled with families from last year and some of the new families joining the school this year.

I'm ready though....not so much ready for them to return as I am ready for the return of routine!  We plan to begin/work on sleep training the baby when the girls return to class.  She did a half hour in her bed this morning - not too shabby for her first time!  I hope to get a regular pattern out of her and have her in her room for all naps and bed time soon.

I never like the sleep training always feels like it will never happen and I hate hearing them cry if/when it comes to them having to cry it out.  But I know that she will learn, they all have, and in no time my baby girl will be sleeping on her own and these precious baby day snuggles will be a memory!

I'm getting sentimental in my old age!

Actually...when I think about it...I'm becoming less sentimental....well...when it comes to material things, it seems.  I find, that as of late, the idea of holding onto things, for the pure sake of memory, is... tiring!  I've never been a minimalist, in fact, both hubby and I have pack rat tendencies.  But it seems with each year and each move that the idea of stuff, is just...overwhelming!

Now, Dave and I haven't moved a whole lot ourselves, two apartments and three houses in our ten years - but I do change rooms around....frequently....and in doing so, that's when I most notice all the things we have accumulated.

Especially this last move of bedrooms.  Where we tore out our closet..(a tad premature on the idea of dividing our giant bedroom into two rooms) and putting our oldest girls in our third floor and thus eliminating basically all of our 'extra' storage spaces.  So the items that were housed in the now-gone closet and tucked away nicely in our third floor are piled...yes, piled, in our master bedroom.

I look at this pile...knowing that we still have items stashed else where in the house, and I become anxious.  Stressed even, at the fact that we have this...stuff!  Stuff, after moving here just over two years ago.  Stuff, after two...or three?!?..giant purges!  Stuff. Stuff. Stuff! And well, I just feel done with it.

So why do I keep many of these things?  Because culturally I feel I must!  Take for wedding dress.  It's tucked away, in a protective bag, in a storage space in our third sits the dark....tucked away... and has been...for Ten. Years.  Why do I keep it?? Because our culture says I should.  It says that the memory of my wedding is locked in that garment and to not have that article of clothing stashed away, to virtually never see the light of day, is what validates our wedding day.

Let's just forget the few hundred photos....

I have carried this dress through each move and held onto it through each purge...and for what?  Will my daughter's want to wear it someday...highly unlikely....will I wear it to our 25th or 50th anniversary... HA!!!  So why do I keep it....

It's just an example of the many pieces of sentimental....stuff...that we... I, keep.  This stuff that weighs on me...even when I don't realize it!  Now...please, I'm not saying that sentimental things are wrong...and even if I was, who cares, it's just my opinion after-all!  But what I am coming to realize is...that many items I "treasure" are only treasured because the culture I'm in says they have value.

But do they really?

With the loss of my dad, just over two years ago now, the idea of sentimental items....has been a bit touchy....a bit too real for me.  Things that once held some meaning became the only connection to someone I love...and have loss....

But it has also given me a fresh perspective on this idea of holding memories in items.  And in doing so the value that is placed on such...things...until they almost become idols...of a sort.  I have, now in my possession, things that my dad used, things he made with his own hands and things that he kept for his own sentimental reasons.

I have fretted over the stained glass lamp that hangs in my home...knowing that a tossed ball or thoughtless move of furniture could case this lamp to break....shattering into a million pieces...taking with it....him?!  No...he's already gone....the lamp is a wonderful reminder of him, of his thoughtfulness and his creativity...but it's not him....

Right after his passing, I feared greatly about the above mentioned incidences...knowing that whoever broke it would suffer a terrible inner turmoil would be unleashed and ohhh they would know....know the awful, awful thing that they would have done....

Wow....real Christ like eh??

Choosing a thing over people?  Loving a thing to the point that imagining the possibility of what might happen and already knowing the out come....even to the detriment of someone else???  Strange, the importance the inanimate can take!

I have since pondered on these feelings of mine...pondered on how an item can hold such precedence over other time spent, memories made and feelings ministered to.  How items we carry around with us...become almost a shrine to the memories kept with them.  How the fear about losing stuff...will somehow cause one to lose that which is associated with it....

...that if I sold or gave away my wedding dress...that my marriage would crumble???

What if you have a bad memory...and you feel these things are all you have...well I sympathize...because that is me.  My memory is less then admirable...and I barely can remember what happened last week, let alone, months or years ago...and so I take pictures....hundreds...thousands, of pictures!  Is that better?? No...not really....not if it evokes the same heart response!

The fact that I would run back into a burning building to save my laptop - thus all the pictures stored on it....says something about the level of importance these images have to me.  Is it wrong to want to treasure the past....I think it is. 

Philippians 3:13-14 says, "Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

As well as Isaiah 43:18-19; " 'Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.' "

And there are many other scriptures that talk about sufficient is today, not looking back and keeping our eyes on the works God is doing in our lives now

So I see plainly, in God's word, that treasuring the past and thus idolizing the items associated with it is certainly a sin.  Especially when these items take over your home and your heart!  I am coming to realize that the items that I associate with my wedding, my childhood....or even my dad...are just that...items.   

I do not think it is wrong to treasure memories, loved ones or special occasions. I think it is lovely to look back on photos and see how my children have their grandparents, ears, eyes or smile!  And I do not think it is a sin to see where God has brought you through the years....good...or bad.

What is a sin, is the place of honour we give to these memories. 

I have come to terms...for the most part...that the lamp from my dad....will probably...eventually, break.  And though in that moment...a small piece of my heart will deeply ache....I know that it was just a thing...that locked away in me is the memories and who I am is the product of who my dad was and what he meant to me!  That my wedding dress will someday be purged (it's really only a matter of when...) and that regardless of it's leaving my possession, I will still love and cherish my husband! 

And so....I am seeing in my sentimental sin....that I place importance on things and the memories of times gone, where I should be looking to the work on the cross...the only thing to be treasured! Holding onto things will not grant immortality, will not secure my loved ones memories...not the memories I have...nor what they have of me...but that my faith in Jesus and His death and resurrection are what grant me life eternal.

So...friends...keep those trinkets, keep the baby shoes, keep the hundreds of photos that make you smile...but keep them in the place they belong.  As temporal, earthly and fleeting.



  1. I hung onto my wedding dress for over 30 years and it was so out of date, neither of my daughters wanted to wear it, not to mention I was a skinny kid just 20 and they were in their mid twenties and one was a totally different build. So not worth all the coddling I gave it over the years. I love your sentimental ramblings in this post. You have beautiful babies. The photos? Still trying to decide what to do with mine. Love you, MAG

  2. Oohhh - much to think and ponder here tonight.

    I've had recent similar thoughts - and funny! even about my wedding dress. It must be the 10 year mile marker that makes us go there. eh? I agree with you... really. Why? Why do we "cherish" this stuff. The stuff that gets us. Overwhelms us. etc. etc. Can't take it with us when we go!

    again... much to ponder. Much to ponder and act on!

  3. Lots to think about here! I've never thought about one point you made here - to consider the reasons behind why we're hanging on to something, and whether those thoughts or our attitude around it might be sinful, that's a helpful way to sort through things. And of course, like in most areas in life balance is a good thing as there are good ways of keeping memories and thinking about the past, as you mentioned. I'm sentimental and like to hang on to some things but I also like the idea of being minimalistic in other areas (except for books!!)

    I think I told you once about a blog post I read about holding on to sentimental things - the lady was talking about that scene in "A Big Fat Greek Wedding" where Tulla is getting married and her grandmother takes out a little box full of keepsakes to show her. The author of the post was saying to instead imagine the grandmother opening the door to a garage or storage unit to show her hundreds of boxes crammed full of stuff...not quite the same special scene, lol.

  4. Wow...I love this K! Interestingly enough, our message at church last week was on "treasures". We need to treasure God! Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also! It SO SPOKE TO ME! I have really reflected this week about "where my treasure is" and unfortunately, it has not been God. But thankful for mercies that are new every morning...I am working on that! We adore and love all our tangible treasures...what if we were that passionate all the time about our Awesome God?!?! I'm telling ya...I loved the message, I felt the Lord speaking to me about Stuff and all the technology, etc. Again, I'm a constant work in progress! Awesome post...and those kids are growing up so fast! Precious. Take care friend!


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