Sunday, August 01, 2010


Sunday Reflection: Things, People, and God

Moving is painful. One part of that pain is the need to sort through physical possessions, which means revisiting each part of your life. As I did this today, I came across something dear:

It is a stool that sat in the stark white kitchen in my grandparents' house by Lake Whatcom in Bellingham, Washington. It was a fixture of my childhood, and there were many days I sat on it as a child, watching my grandmother cook or listening to my grandfather tell a story or laugh. I miss them both though they have been gone for many years, as they taught me as much as anyone has. I have kept that stool, though, as a keepsake. It went from Bellingham to Detroit to Waco, as I have been unable to let go of that memory of those childhood days in that fragrant kitchen filled with love.

It will not go to Minnesota, though. It is ruined and old, loved to death, and I have come to realize that I can let go of that object without letting go of that memory. What I have is the purity of light in that room and the purity of spirit of people who loved me; that memory is not improved by a raggedy artifact that no longer reflects an essential truth.

Tonight, though, I moved past that sadness. I had dinner with a few old friends who love to talk about history, and I listened to them, sipped my wine, and appreciated the light and the warmth and the laughter of that moment.

Stuff is just stuff, created by human hands, while we are each direct creations of God. To one another, we each change the orbit of the people we encounter and befriend and love-- we never leave those we touch unaffected. My grandparents and the others who have moved me are in each cell of my being in a way that a chair never will be. I can walk away like the 70 apostles, holding nothing while I carry all of them inside.

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We have one of those chairs inthe family. My Mom and aunt used it when they were kids. We used it at my Grandmother's and fought over who could sit on it. Now my aunt has it in her kitchen and her grandchildren use it.

The memories are there and we are not willing to part with it.
My grandparents had this chair too. I used to sit on it as a child. Objects point us to a good and loving presence which can never be destroyed, not even by death. Thanks, for the words on the communion of saints and the resurrection.
I think Bates needs to buy your house.
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