Some Things You Keep

I don’t know why but at the start of the year I carry what I call “The Urge.”

Maybe you have it too.

Now what is “The Urge?”

It is the compulsion within me to clean up my desk, my cabinet, and my things, throw away the stuff I don’t need and bring out new stuff in preparation for the New Year. I am pretty sure this is the soul’s desire of wanting to start the year with a new slate. To throw away what did not work and hopefully work on those that would.

And so with my waste basket ready I begin to throw away unwanted things but as I look through my stuff I realize that no matter what happens, there are some things you keep.

You cannot just throw them away.

It looks like I am not the one who entertains the sentiment.

An unknown author wrote about this and I would like you to read her words carefully:

“Some things you keep. Like good teeth. Warm coats. Bald husbands. They’re good for you, reliable and practical and so sublime that to throw them away would make the garbage man a thief. So you hang on, because something old is sometimes better than something new, and what you know is often better than a stranger.

These are my thoughts. They make me sound old, old and tame, and dull at a time when everybody else is risky and racy and flashing all that’s new and improved in their lives. New careers, new thighs, new lips, new cars. The world is dizzy with trade-ins. I could keep track, but I don’t think I want to.

I grew up in the fifties with practical parents -a mother, God bless her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it – and still does. A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones. They weren’t poor, my parents, they were just satisfied. Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers and tee shirt and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one’s hand, dishtowel in the other’s. It was a time for fixing things – a curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress.

Things you keep. It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, reheating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant there’d always be more. But then my father died, and on that clear autumn night, in the chill of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn’t any ‘more.’ Sometimes what you care about most gets all used up and goes away, never to return.

So, while you have it, it’s best to love it and care for it and fix it when it’s broken and heal it when it’s sick. That’s true for marriage and old cars and children with bad report cards and dogs with bad hips and aging parents. You keep them because they’re worth it; because you’re worth it.

Some things you keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate you grew up with, there’s just some things that make life important… people you know are special… and you KEEP them close!” End of article.

This got me thinking.

Here is how I look at it.

Things you can keep and throw away because they are no longer useful.

But people you keep because they are not things.

Isn’t it sad when the moment you leave your company you burn all your bridges and throw away the many years of friendship you have had with your bosses and peers?

Isn’t it sad when the moment you leave your church the same people you loved and helped are now the very ones who set out to destroy and discredit you?

Isn’t it sad when a conflict in the family whether business or relational, breaks it apart and now the love is replaced by hatred and loathing?

You can throw away things but some things you keep close. And they are not things but people.

Two things are hard on the heart… running up the stairs, running down people.

Love people and use things. Do not use people to love things.

Some things you throw away but the relationships you keep.

This is how you start the year with a clean slate.

This is why God’s mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness.

2 thoughts on “Some Things You Keep

  1. Jonjo Trinidad

    Very inspiring and touching! May i use some lines to send an oldtime friend whom i.ve not seen in decades? Thanks.

  2. Kristine

    Thanks for sharing this Francis. Clinging on to your every word! God bless you always.

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