One week ago we sold all the things left over from my parent's 40 years of living on Southcrest Drive in Louisville, Kentucky. So many people came to the sale! People were in the yard at 6am with flashlights looking through all that we had set out the night before. When we finally opened the door to the house, people flooded in, rumageing through everything. They cleared most of the attic, basemnt and cellar storage. Dad's house has always been full of paintings, frames, books, lamps, nic-naks, exotic stuff, tapestries and just plain junk that caught his eye at the thrift store. My Dad loves to find overlooked treasures but his heart was never to resell any of it...he just liked strange, old things. Now, he would talk of how much something was "worth" or play with ideas of running his own antique store but he was never really serious.
These people picking through this stuff had the glint of the addict in their eyes...jittery and compulsively going over and back over every little thing. It was wierd. $3,000 in sales later, we started giving stuff away. That's when the diggers came...looking through the picked over piles and through our construction dumpster we had rented for all the unsellable junk. Then, just yesturday, the Salvation army came to take what was left and still useful...bags and bags of books.
The day of the sale was sunny and went by quickly but it had been rainy the days before so the ground was a bit muddy. While helping one customer out with a bigger item he had purchased, my eye caught a little something trampled in the mud. It was a small, woven bookmark my Mother kept in her Bible. I picked it up, wiped it off and straightened it out...
"Only one life, 'twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last."
I put it in my pocket and now it's in my Bible. My Dad has let go of a lot to make his recent move. And it has been quite a load off to be rid of all that stuff. We've saved a few things but what will really be remembered of all our lives? That we had cool stuff? That we made lots of money? Of course not. It will be love, laughter, shared grief, prayers, humility, time spent, each embrace, songs, stories, pictures, words of encouragement and challenge, meals, sacrifice and generosity.
This is my inheritance, I pray I spend it well.