Clearing Clutter, Saving Memories

freedom_father

Ever feel like you save too much stuff?  If so, just watch an episode of hoarders.  You’ll either feel better or start tossing everything!

Personally, I love to get rid of stuff.  I always have a bag of clothes ready to be donated, or a box of hangers to return to the dry cleaners.  And of course our trash and recycle bins are filled to the brim each week.  We do have 4 big boys at home now so the need to keep clutter at bay has reached maximum capacity.

So why then did I tuck a box of memorabilia in the attic last week? And what about the one I stashed on the top shelf of the closet? And don’t even ask about the one I placed under the bed yesterday!

Honestly, I’m not keeping all this stuff for me.  I save it for my boys (my “originals”).  The fact that their father has stopped making contact makes me worry that they’ll long for knowledge of their family of origin.  They may not want to talk about him now, but perhaps one day they’ll ask me questions, and I may not even remember the answers.  So I save little things for them… some items from our wedding, family photos, journal entries from the years when things were good, and some from the really hard years.  Not all of these mementos are treasures, but they tell a story, a story the boys will one day want to know.

And while we’re reflecting on fathers, a strange but comforting thought occurred to me last weekend.  We were attending the Easter church service and in the message our pastor was talking about the amazing gift God gave us in His son.  It got me to thinking about all the gifts and sacrifices my own dad has made for me through the years.  I thought back to my first wedding, which was held at my dad’s home.  I realized he gave me that wedding, and even planted flowers that would match my colors even though he did not approve of the groom.  He sacrificed his own feelings in order to allow me the gift of making my own choice.  He gave me freedom.

That got me to thinking about my boys’ father.  I started to wonder what gift or sacrifice he has ever made for them.  At first you might think “what gift could a dead-beat dad possibly give?”.  I started down that road too at first. But then suddenly I saw his loss of contact in a completely different light.  What if his absence IS his gift to them?  Perhaps he has purposely sacrificed his own desire for a relationship with his sons in order to protect them from his substance abuse and lifestyle.  Maybe his gift is their freedom.

This gives me a reason to be thankful!  I mean, children so often follow in the footsteps of their parents.  At least I know that our children are being raised in a healthy atmosphere.  I mean, how would I feel if I had to send them to be with him every other weekend?  I would be constantly wondering what they were being exposed to and terrified for their safety.

So to my ex-husband I say “thank you” for this gift.  Whether or not it was a decision he made on purpose, it has resulted in their safety and my piece of mind.  I continue to pray for his healing and victory over every hurt, habit and hang-up.  When and if the boys want to know their father I will not stand in their way.  Whether it be to look through the boxes I’ve saved or to go find him in person… we’ll cross that bridge when they are ready.

Have you looked through your own clutter lately.  What do you save, and why?

 

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