I’ve had the opportunity to be in the Chicago area with my two sisters and brother-in-law, joining with them as we’re helping Mom through this new phase in her life.
Post stroke, she’s moved into a smaller room. More compact with less space for life accumulations.
It’s an effort to declutter a life. All life is filled with stuff. And each piece of stuff represents some memory. A portion of her past.
Mom was a little girl when the Depression hit. The logical thinking during that era was nothing should be thrown away. Everything could be re-purposed into something useful. Something necessary.
To a jar of teeth.
Mom was holding court as we went through piles of things, sorting what could be given away and what could be kept. I pulled this jar from the far reaches of a drawer, not quite seeing what it was at first. When I realized it was full of baby teeth, I turned to Mom.
“What were you thinking?”
She couldn’t tell first what they were. When I explained it was a jar of baby teeth, she just started laughing.
“They’re all of yours. All four of you. I couldn’t possibly throw them away.”
That stumped her. And got her to laughing again.
“I don’t throw anything away.”
As was quite obvious by the things we were finding in her room. Downsizing is a bear, but when many things hold memories, real or imagined, it’s harder to discard them. To pretend indifference to them.
She had a story for most everything. Some we’d heard before. Some had taken on the creative patina of age, where facts become fiction, but no one says anything. Not all memories were colored with that soft light. Some still felt prickly.
She and Dad had had a picture for as long as I could remember. One Dad had loved. One she claims now she’d hated the entire time they had it.
Old memory. New information.
Memories have the capacity to morph with time. The good become better. The bad feel harsher. The truth grays with the passage of years.
There are memories in my life that I cherish. Those of loved ones and fun times and memorable place.
Others are painful. Loss. Regretable decisions. Acts of stupidity that could have been avoided.
One of the wonderful things about God is that He chooses not to remember those miserable memories of ours when we leave them at the foot of His throne.
“I–yes, I alone–will blot out your sins for My own sake and will never think of them again.” Isaiah 43:25
I will continue to blow it. To make regretable decisions. But in relationship with Him, God chooses not to hold any of those against me. Forgiving freely and fully.
Remembering that gift of grace softens any of those harsh memories I have.
He’s filling the potholes of my mind with hope. And love.