As my Bible study group finished up 7 and were trying to decide exactly how we would move forward, we made the decision to do a sale where we could make our excess available to others who might need it. Everything in the sale will cost a quarter (or nothing if it isn’t worth a quarter), donations will be accepted, and all the money raised will go to The Simple Room, a local charity whose purpose is to transform “youth by facilitating Christ-centered programming for spiritual, physical, mental and social development in efforts to empower youth to positively engage their community.”
Great idea, right?
The problem for me is this: during the possessions week when we were supposed to be getting rid of stuff and going through everything in our house, I didn’t have time, so I am now attempting to get through everything before the sale on May 10.
I didn’t think it would be a problem: go through the storage closets and basement and make a huge pile of stuff that someone else could use but I don’t need.
I was wrong.
I started with the excess forms of media in my house: cassette tapes and VHS tapes. I covered my living room floor with them. A good chunk of them were tapes (both kinds) that I had personally recorded – off the radio and off the TV. What’s even sadder is I have lived in this house for 12 years next month and not once have I pulled out any of them to watch.
And yet, I had to say to my family, more than once, “tell me it is ok to get rid of this stuff.” This isn’t even sale-worthy stuff. This is straight to the trash can stuff. And I was having major issues letting go of it.
Why? Because it is tied to memories. And for some reason I am afraid that the memories won’t still be there without the tapes.
But they will be. And let’s be honest, I am never going to put in the VHS tape of Garth Brooks on the CMA awards in 199_ (I have multiple years). I am never going to watch Travis Tritt act in that western he was in again. And the movies recorded on those VHS tapes? There’s no guarantee the end of the movie is even on the tape (I’ve fallen into that trap before). And cassettes? Well, I had a bunch of them numbered and had a hand-written list of what songs I had recorded off the radio on them. But as with all good radio mix tapes, the beginnings of the songs are cut off. And if I really want to hear those songs, I have access to Spotify, YouTube, and iTunes if I feel the need to have the song in my library.
And let’s not even get me started on the cassette tapes that I purchased (Columbia House Music club anyone?). (Not to worry, the same OCD that made a hand-written list of songs recorded from the radio also has a list of every cassette tape I own so I could replace it with a CD – or now .mp3 – version when and if necessary).
I don’t even own a cassette player! And I am struggling with getting rid of these things.
I think the real issue for me (and probably you, too) is we like our stuff around us. It gives us comfort. It reminds us of the past. It makes us feel secure.
But our security doesn’t come from this stuff. In fact, this stuff can actually hinder our eternal security.
Matthew 6:19-21 (The Message) says:
“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
Do I want to spend eternity here, on earth, with stuff that won’t last? When I find myself tethered to my stuff that is exactly what I am saying.
Ugh. That’s not what I really want, is it?
I threw my recordings on VHS and cassette in the trash. I couldn’t even leave them in the house for spring clean-up week because I didn’t want to let them back into my storage space – or heart.
Lord, help me be tethered only to You and to the treasures you have for me in heaven.