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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

To keep or not to keep? That is the question.

I’ve been on a cleaning out binge lately.  I get the phrase, “Get it out of my house,” in my mind and I just go cleaning out nuts.  I took the day off of work one day recently to do some more cleaning and my project for the day was to clean out our stash of books.

Do you know what I realized?

I have travel books from almost every international trip I have ever taken.  You know, just in case I ever decide to go back and need to remind myself of what there is to do there.


I mean, seriously.  I have over a decade of travel books.

I have books that were given to me as I prepared to spend a summer in southern France as an au pair in 1994 between my junior and senior years of college.  And not just any old books, mind you.  Clearly the members of my family had some concerns that were expressed in the books they gave me.

I think my dad was concerned that I’d get lost… I’m sure in more ways that in the physical sense.


And clearly my sister was concerned that I would either commit some kind of horrible cultural faux-pas or be horribly dressed and out of style. 


I have travel books from our honeymoon to New Zealand in 1996.  Never mind that we actually have a cousin living there, now. 

I have not only travel books, but a language book complete with tapes from our trip to Greece in 2000.


But let’s keep in mind that when we’re talking Greek, a couple of tapes are only going to get you as far as “Please,” “Thank you,” “Bathroom,” and “Beer.”  Those are the four most important things, anyways.  Right?  Right.

And, of course I still have the Paris and Continental Europe books from the trip in 2004 when I had the opportunity to travel with Mike on business. 

Isn’t it funny the things we hold onto to remind us of where we’ve been?  We buy souvenirs and, apparently, some of us keep travel books.  But think of how old those books are.  Are they still accurate?

Granted, there are certain things like the Notre Dame, the Parthenon and Buckingham Palace that will never move or really change.  But the restaurants and hotels?  There’s no way any of that information is accurate. 

But, when it comes down to it, I am a keeper.  I like to keep things that remind me of good or special times.  Historically, I have been a scapbooker and while life recently has not afforded me time to work on such endeavors, I enjoy doing scrapbooks because of this very reason. 

But my “keeper” mentality goes beyond travel books.  I keep other things also.  For instance, I just realized the other day that I still have every bit of crystal giftware that we received for our wedding 14 years ago.  Bowls, candlesticks, platters, picture frames and a hurricane lamp.  Some of it I used decoratively in our home at first.  But then tastes change and kids come along and now it’s all just sitting on a shelf collecting dust. 

As with the books, I have to sit back and ask myself, “Why?”

For one thing I think keeping is sometimes easier than getting rid of or cleaning out.

Isn’t that true in other areas of life as well?  Isn’t it sometimes easier to hold on to fear or bitterness than to let Jesus do a healing work?  If nothing else, it’s usually more comfortable.

For a time.

But once you truly do the cleaning out your house just feels so much better.  Just like our lives and the freedom we have when we let Jesus do a healing work in us.

While I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, I am attempting to resolve to not be such a keeper. 


And not just of books.

What about you?  Are you a keeper?


Beckypdj said...

I have been in the cleaning mode too!! I don't keep a lot of things I don't use. When taking steps to clean my son's room, deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, I took pictures of everything. A friend of mine is also making a memory quilt from some of his clothing. The pictures helped me to let go of a lot of stuff.

Kim said...

Not so much any more. But that's because it took me TWO YEARS to go through all our stuff and get rid of 95% of it before we moved overseas. I'm going for the "mean and lean" look now. Although I would eventually like to get a dining table and chairs :-)

Yolanda said...

Saw you today on Life Today, was so excited as I remembered your name as well as your blog name. ;-)

Hubs and I have been cleaning out our home pretty extensivley the past couple of weeks, and it sure feels good. I'm such a pack rat, everything is hidden and has its place, but a pack rat none the less.


Tiffany said...

Since the books are old anyway, who cares if they are destroyed? So maybe you can cut out just the titles or pictures/notations of places you enjoyed visiting and use them on your scrapbook pages?