Tangible Reminders of Love
Whenever I find a new home for stuff in one of my memory boxes, it just feels right because I know it's a tangible reminder for someone I love.
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“One day, son, all this will be yours.”
Have you seen this one-panel cartoon that makes the rounds online every so often? It shows an elderly man who is standing with the aid of a walker next to his son in his driveway. The garage door is up and the place is packed to the rafters with old refrigerators, televisions, tires, books, lamps, chairs, coffee mugs and coolers, with a trash bag or two thrown in.
The son has his hands on his hips, and you know what he’s thinking. “I’m going to have to either rent three dumpsters to ditch all this stuff after my dad dies, or hire someone to come in and haul it away.”
The next generation doesn’t want 98 percent of the stuff we keep. I don’t have any hard data to back that up, but how much stuff did you take home when your parents or grandparents passed away?
A few years ago, I saw an episode of This Is Us and it gave me an idea. A character named Beth starts a “memory box” for her children because their grandfather had cancer and the prognosis wasn’t good.
Beth used the memory box she made when her dad died as an example. Inside, she put all sorts of things that reminded her of him, including a menu from a restaurant her dad used to take her to.
Beth’s children catch on pretty quickly, and one of them places a chess piece into her memory box because her grandfather took the time to teach her how to play the game to prepare for a chess tournament.
I loved this idea, so I started my own memory boxes with a slight twist. Yes, the boxes are for me, but the stuff inside is also for my loved ones after I pass away. I hope the box they take home reminds them of how much I loved them.
I have a rule that I set for myself. The stuff I keep has to fit into a shoebox. So, I keep things like cards, letters, CDs, pictures, a book or two, and the like. I’ve made a couple of exceptions, like the huge family Bible my grandmother used to have in her living room and my dad’s golf clubs. But I’m pretty strict about this rule otherwise.
In the box for my oldest niece, I have a mix CD of some of her favorite songs we listened to when she was young, a Courtney Cole CD from a concert we attended a few years ago, a “Toadally Awesome” sticker of a dancing frog she once gave me before I left on a trip, a picture of a dancing cat she colored with crayons and dated June 3, 1997 and a styrofoam rectangle with her initials stamped into it – a project from middle school that she gave me. I have a lot of other things in the box as well, but you get the idea.
My basement still contains maybe twenty boxes from my last move. So I have more work to do. But every time I find a new home for something in one of my memory boxes, it just feels right because I know it’ll be a tangible reminder for someone I love.
Here are some tidbits you might find interesting this week:
Here is the power of a good game of catch.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” -C.S. Lewis
This is such a great story of a group of five friends who take the same photo every five years. The pandemic and a cancerous tumor nearly stopped their latest attempt, but they prevailed.
“Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the Cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes. There is his commission, his work.” -Deitrich Bonhoeffer
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Also, stop by Lee’s website and check out his books.