This is to let you know that I will be writing my thoughts and experiences on a somewhat regular basis for J.L.‘s website and put to pen, as it were, my perspective on this season in life.
April and May—and now June—were more months of transition for J.L. and me. The New Directions building was going to be sold (it has been as of this writing) and we needed to move all of our things. It has been interesting to remember the look of the pre-move offices and the items in them, and quite another to see them boxed up. Goodness, where did all this stuff come from? Have J.L. and I not spoken, numerous times for numerous conferences overseas, on “this world is not my home home, I’m just a travelin’ through,” or written that we are to hold loosely to material possessions or prayed that we would find all of our sufficiency in Christ and not in things? If you could see our backyard with so many of those things under tarps, a Pod for storage outside the back door, the pictures and artifacts that have invaded most rooms in our house, you would have to conclude that we need to revisit our preaching and walk the talk! Seriously, our property looks like a TV episode from Sanford and Sons!
One of the hardest parts is that all the memorabilia has a name or face or special spiritual event associated with it. How do you throw that away…or even give it away? It’s been hardest on J.L. who has collected and saved so many memories. Still in all, I thought he was being a little too reluctant to, how shall I say, simplify his possessions. But as I was moving some things from a closet that stored my mother’s filing cabinet to make room for J.L.‘s teaching tapes, I saw her handwriting on everything, even a credit card receipt for a book. It was painful to trash all those papers, because I felt like I was saying goodbye to her all over again and erasing her memory for future generations of family members. There was a stack of her books, one, an old Bible, had the cover torn from it and most of the pages were ragged. As I was on my way to the give-away pile, I opened it to the title page and right there was my grandfather’s signature. THIS WAS HIS BIBLE! I have nothing of his that remains, so NO WAY was I going to throw that away! That’s when I felt the nudging of the Holy Spirit, “You see, Patt, your attachment to this special book is the same as J.L.‘s. Be nice to him and be patient. He’ll gradually get it done.”
I think what J.L. really needs is something like a Presidential Library—maybe an NDI and Mission Museum! We have so many things that tell of a lifetime of partnerships, both here and overseas—wonderful men and women who have remained faithful to Christ in the midst of personal struggles and defeats, persecution and privation, and have emerged not just somehow, but triumphantly. Pictures of/books about/gifts from people who have challenged us to live more intentionally for the Lord. I just don’t know how we can get rid of anything because it feels like we are erasing their memory for the generations who will come after us!
Having said all of that, it’s still an important process to go through, this culling, weeding and sorting, because, last I remember, the hearse is not equipped with a hitch for a U-Haul. The most important “stuff” that will be saved, stored or displayed will be seen in what the Lord has done in the lives of those with whom we have had the privilege of serving. Besides, none of this was ever in our plans when we started out married life together over 45 years ago, which is a good thing, because that means God gets all the credit for the fruit that will remain. And that’s what’s it’s all about anyway.
With love, from the Pod,
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is
seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
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