When some of our “things” start wearing out, what do we do with them?
Some choose to keep or refurbish a favorite if the problem appears fixable. With a favorite item of clothing, we may start looking for a painless diet that will allow us to quickly lose those extra pounds that crept on during the holidays.
Hanging in my closet is a pale blue linen dress that is timeless – it was the dress my mother wore at my wedding. Thinking big time closet clean-out, I took the dress off the hanger and, out of curiosity, tried it on. I kept it as a memory, not as a wearable, but had not put it away again in the cedar chest.
It fit, except that my mother was more than four inches taller than me and big boned. Normally, anything that she wore would be too large for me, but in anticipation of the wedding she had gone on a special diet months earlier.
Friends told her about a doctor who was prescribing digitalis — a drug used to treat heart problems — as a weight loss program.
Some months later, the man lost his medical license when a woman died as a result of the drug misuse he was practicing. He also went to prison. (Tip: be wary about quick fixes for overweight!)
Fortunately for me, I married Mr. “If you're not using it, get rid of it.”
He will always be in trouble for giving away a bedroom ensemble without asking my plans for it. With that exception, he is usually correct in his clean-up mode that helps keep us in good order. And he did build me an art studio years ago that is the center of whatever I am trying to get in order, including family pictures, history, and other memorabilia. It will always be a work in progress.
It's a bit like the few “after-five” clothes in my closet. Some things I rarely need, but are somewhat timeless so “just in case,” I keep them. I certainly don't want my children to purchase a new dress for my burial!
How we handle “things,” including memories, also reflects our priorities in life. I like to read Max Lucado's daily devotionals available via e-mail. He is a master at putting great biblical teachings into few words.
From his book “You Can Count On God,” he notes, “It is better to forgive than to hold a grudge, better to build up than to tear down, better to seek to understand than to disregard, better to love than to hate.”
His biblical reference is from Luke 6:38, part of the most challenging sermon any of us will ever hear … Jesus says “...love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. ... Do not judge, and you will not be judged. ...Forgive and you will be forgiven,”...and then, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (NIV)
If political disagreement is considered a severe “enemy” category, as it seems today to be the case across our land, we all have a great opportunity to practice the major points of this biblical passage as described by the one who a short time later laid his life down on behalf of all humanity, thus offering us the choice to receive or reject eternal life based wholly on his sacrificial love.
All inequities will disappear. Instead of worrying about what to “keep,” we will live in a perfection beyond our capability to imagine. Until then, we have a lot of work to do on our attitudes toward each other.
Most likely, we all need to do a drastic cleaning and refurbishing of our “attitude closet.”
Beth Pratt retired after 25 years as the religion editor of the Avalanche-Journal.
This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Pratt: How we handle 'things' reflects our priorities in life