We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, August 26. 2018
Matthew: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
There is no word for "dostadning" in English. It is "Swedish Death-Cleaning." I can not do the umlauts.
The word refers to a human tendency, in their 50s and 60s, to begin to unload possessions and to streamline life. Furniture, clothing, tools, sports equipment, books, cookware and serving stuff, pictures and artwork, various collections, spare houses, time shares, and so on. Things in closets, things in the attic, things in the basement.
At some point, people realize they will not live long enough to use or wear out the stuff they have. Awareness of morbidity and mortality.
Most people fall somewhere in the middle of a spectrum between spartan minimalists to hoarders, collectors, and accumulators, but most people do end up with an excess of stuff, imagining that "I might need it someday" or "It might come back into fashion" or "my kids might want it." Nope. The psychology and psychiatry of it all is interesting, but we can leave that aside.
Inherited stuff is the biggest challenge for many. Things that connect us to our pasts, in general. Memory aids. Narcissistic and neurotic outlets. Keep what has true meaning while knowing that its meaning will be gone when you die. Death cleaning.
I was raised on this Wordsworth sonnet (among many others- I was thankfully raised on the classics of literature, music, and art by my cultivated parents):
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
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Dr. Joy Bliss: Things that connect us to our pasts, in general. Memory aids.
For most such things, just snap a digital picture, and put it on the cloud where you can look at it whenever you want. The physical things can be passed on to others who might also enjoy them. Try yard sales or auctions or just give them away.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I'm afraid that's too facile. We are tangible creatures, and want a touch and not just a tweet. "Here we have the crib her great-grandfather made, there's the letter she wrote to me, her inseparable stuffed animal..."
When I mislaid my wedding ring and felt naked without it, I replaced it with a titanium ring. It serves as well as the original, but it isn't the same.
These things of the world are not holy in themselves, and not treasure in themselves, but they have these qualities by association. We have to give them up, but they are not nothing, and giving them up is not as seamless as you want it to be. You give away Grandpa's watch not because it means nothing, but because the other person's need means more.
I keep many of these things to remind me that life WAS better in many ways when I was young.
I have grandpa's gold pocket watch. Why? Can;t use a pocket watch.
My siblings and me discussed it with our parents. Unless they need to move to a smaller home (or nursing home) it seems silly and uncaring to ask them to throw away possessions that have meaning to them and live in an empty house. Plenty of room in the attic.
There are items from family inheritances that have little to no sentimental value to me or my siblings; if other family members would be happy to have those items, pass them on to those people.
One stores up treasures in heaven by obeying the demands of our Lord. Getting rid of, or not getting rid of old stuff has nothing to do with Christ's quote.
I think it does. Not in any absolute way, but there is a clear invitation to leave earthly things behind to follow Him. Still, we're only human...
I am unburdening myself of all that I am able, as it happens. Books and excess firearms, for a couple of examples. Old brown furniture too. God, it is ugly old stuff.
Last week I filled a 20'x20' area in the garage with stuff for a yard sale and then charity. Made a dent in the accumulations, and much more to go.
Moving next weekend and amazing how much stuff doesn't seem to be worth moving. Much rather give it away than try to sell some of it. More fun that way, good stories to talk about with friends and relatives.
Be nice to see some of BD's old brown furniture. Imagine it to be well built and useful.
I just don't want to leave too much of a mare's nest for the kids to sort. Some ephemera can be easily discarded and the more useful stuff passed on or sold as time and ability allow.
I went to college with a suitcase and a ten speed. Left college with same, except that the back trunk of my dad's LTD was weighed down with books (many still unread, alas; others, no regrets -- I'm looking at you, Hegel).
The first few moves after college were made in the back of a taxi as I hopped from one NYC sublet to another.
I needed a small UHaul when I left the city.
Fast forward thirty years and three kids later, all it took was a six month purge, a storage unit on the side, and a tractor trailer combination worthy of a heavy metal tour. Disgusting.
I have always confused the intent behind the purchase of a book with the acquisition of wisdom, and have habitually substituted reading for thinking. Still, I cannot give up my books; they are monuments to my ignorance.
I have had to help settle the affairs of three octogenarians in the past half decade: a priest, a professor, and a lifelong bachelor. All learned men in their own ways. The first desperately put his papers in order in a race against cancer; the second divested himself as dementia set in, and the third died midstream, full of dreams and unresolved conflicts.
I love stuff. I like what ere I look upon and my looks go everywhere.
I am not loaded down with stuff, but what I have means something to me. When someone comes into my home if they stand a moment and look around they will understand exactly who I am. Nature fills my soul and makes it's way into my humble abode. Perhaps if dementia begins to invade, certain posessions may spark a memory and bring a smile, if only for a brief passing moment. Sterile environments, for me at least, are uncomfortable and unsettlling. My history wiped clean.
I'm in kind of a pickle. My basement is full of furniture and other things handed down to me through several generations - my Great Grandmother's rocking chair, my Grandparent's bedroom set, a secretary that my Grandfather made for my Grandmother during the great depression because he didn't have any money to buy her a present for Christmas. I've preserved all these treasures for many decades but, now that I'm getting old, I don't know what to do with them. Our kids don't want them and it seems like a betrayal to just give them away or throw them out.
James the lesser: We are tangible creatures, and want a touch and not just a tweet.
But sometimes collecting a vast number of tangible objects can have a negative impact on a person's life. In that case, sometimes knowing that they can look at them, and that perhaps someone else is enjoying them, can help a person let go.
How to do umlauts.
That's the problem. The meaning of things to us dies when we die.
Exactly. But those with the least discernible meaning still must do the most preaching.
"The meaning of things to us dies when we die." Apparently so.
Great truths cannot be passed along as minor ethics, especially when they're presented without either thesis or conviction - when they lack insight or grasp. Then they become co-opted; flat, meaningless, and preachy.
To grasp the complete, true rejection of the material is not even remotely the equivalent of cleaning the garage or attic of one's estate while indulging a lifestyle full of expenditures and routines and pleasure. In fact, it's the opposite and takes the Lord's name in vain.
It's vanity, in fact. People shouldn't quote Jesus. To know Jesus - if that's even possible - tends to render one speechless.