Monday, August 25, 2008

What do you want to leave behind?

This past month has been an interesting one as we’ve parched through my parents’ possessions.
It’s been a lot of tears as we’ve remembered the good times, and laughter as we relived the adventures, There was stuff to throw away and stuff that we took into our homes cherishing it for the next generations.

But mostly for me, it was a time of learning and understanding.

One neighbor kiddingly came over to ask if we’d found anything shocking or of noted interest as we went through their things.

“No”, we responded, “They were pretty much who we had always believed them to be.”

We found love letters to each other and journals that expressed their thoughts and feelings. We found boxes and boxes of pictures that captured every worthwhile memory and some that we wish hadn’t been captured. We found temple clothes and patriarchal blessings, notes and letters from each of us and pictures we’d drawn – all stuff that would have been boring to the outside world (no novels to write here) but all things that gave us comfort nonetheless knowing that our parents had loved and cherished us and given us a good life based on eternal principles.

It wasn’t until I got home, though, along with all of my mothers papers that I did find something shocking – something that I’d never known about her. As I opened one of her boxes, I found her most cherished collection – one none of us had ever known she’d even had.

We’d known about her Santa collection and about dad’s book collection but this was something that was near and dear to her heart that in the quiet of her room dictated her loves and desires.

For years in her nightstand I’d seen a highlighter and a small pair of scissors and had wondered why she kept them there because I’d never seen her use them. Of no great consequence,….until I had opened this box.

Inside, placed lovingly were hundreds of clippings out of the Church News of a feature called ‘Applying the Scriptures’.

For the better part of 20 years, my mother had carefully cut these little features out, highlighted the things that stood out to her and had then gone to the scripture referenced and used that as a study guide as she studied. More notes had been made in the margins of her scriptures as she gained further insight.

Suddenly this box full of what at first appeared to be nothing more than a collection of recyclable goods, took on whole new meaning and gave me insight into a part of my mother’s life that I had not know before.

She had not made it a public practice of showing that she had done the right things but had simply and quietly just done them. And I, nor any of my siblings, had ever known the deep commitment and faithfulness with which she had lived her everyday life in this one area until after her death when I so fortuitously had stumbled upon her most prized collection.

The whole experience made me really think about what I want to leave behind. What do I want those who come after me to find that will dictate my life, passions and desires? And furthermore, what do I want to collect for my own personal enjoyment rather than for the sake of the world?

I also have to admit though, that I can’t wait to see my mom’s neighbor again so that I can tell him that I did find something shocking that gave me new insight into who my mother really was.
I will also gladly share with him that her heart, passions and desires were more than I ever could’ve dreamed of and that I can only hope to follow in her footsteps one day.


Janette Rallison said...

What a sweet post. I hope my kids can say the same about me when they're going through my stuff. (Maybe I'd better plant some good stuff, just to make sure . . .)

Mom of Two said...

How sweet! That is really a neat thing to leave behind. I hope you are doing well and we are excited to see you in November!

Jen said...

Wow, how sweet.

This post made me wonder if my kids would be surprised to know the real me, going through my things.