Friday, June 17, 2011

To Keep or Not to Keep...

When I was a tween and teenager, I collected troll dolls. You remember them? They had these goofy smiling faces, big noses, various outfits, and multi-colored hair. I thought they were just the cutest darned things. I got them in my stocking at Christmas, my Nana would always give me some as random gifts and at Christmas, and I would get one every so often with money I earned shoveling snow. Eventually I had so many that my stepdad painted a 6' plank white, threw it on some brackets and gave me a shelf to display them in my bedroom. I had one that had a tropical-print bikini top, a yarn "grass" skirt, and bright pink hair. That one was my favorite.

I can't believe I was able to find a picture of this thing... thank you internet!
Time passed and it was time for me to pack up my room and decide what had to get put away until I got home from college. Press-dried color guard flowers displayed in rinsed clean Snapple bottles were discarded, books were donated to the library, and the trolls were packed in a box to be put in the basement. More time passed, I finished college, my parents decided to move to Tennessee and the boxes in the basement needed attention.

It was time to decide: what got put in smaller boxes and stored at my grandparents' house until I was married and in a house - and what got sold at the yard sale. Trophies, medals, my baby book, my first Bible, pictures, autograph books with messages from friends, and a Sesame Street memory book made the cut. It was pretty difficult for me to do, but after much hemming & hawing - I decided to part ways with my beloved troll collection.

The trolls were sold for $0.25/each at the side of the road along with old VHS tapes, clothes, and read books. My favorite one was one of the first to go. What I sold for $0.25 can now be purchased on eBay for $29.99.

That last part is irrelevant, more just a point of interest.

I was thinking of this because I am coming up to a point in my life where I may have to make that decision again. In my office I have managed to collect several bears from various states & places we've been. This is all well and good... except that if God decides that children are in His plan for us at any point in time, one or both of our offices are going to need to be consolidated & cleaned out. Lots of stuff will be sold, donated, or otherwise disposed of.

I've already decided that when the time comes, the state bears will be fallen to the same fate as the trolls (save the one I got in Jamaica on our honeymoon).

The reality is that these things don't matter. I remember when Steve's grandmother was selling her house in Andover and downsizing to a condo in an active adult community, she kept telling him at her yard sale: "They're just things. They don't matter". The trolls, the bears... they are just things. They don't matter.

Do I remember all of the trolls that I had or how I got each one? No. What do I remember about the bedroom from my teenage years? I remember getting ready for school and belting out Alanis Morrisette and Green Day songs (and consequently getting asked to turn down my music most days). I remember laughing hysterically with friends at slumber parties. I remember my girlfriend Laura doing my make-up for my junior prom while we waited for my date to arrive. I remember braiding my little sisters' hair and playing games with my brother. I remember late-night phone conversations with some of my closest friends talking about life, whispering and stifling laughter so that I wouldn't wake people up.

The bears are going to be easier to let go of than the trolls were when and if the time comes. Why? Because that room is going to be for my child to be able to make his or her own memories. Their own slumber parties, getting ready for their own proms, blaring their own music that I in turn will tell them to turn down, and spending their own time learning to navigate through life.

The bears, the trolls... Grams was right: those are just things. Keeping them in a box until some magical time when I can sell them at an inflated price on eBay to someone else who likes things isn't going to better my life. What made and continues to make my life better are the moments that make me smile, laugh, cry, learn, and grow.

Keep that in mind the next time you're cleaning out a closet or a room and feel that pull on your heartstrings to keep something that will only collect dust. I will too.

"Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." (Matthew 6:19-21)

1 comment:

Cara said...

Love love love this one, Danielle! Beautiful :)