On leaving London six years ago I packed up three suitcases filled with items I couldn’t take home with me and couldn’t throw away.

“When I come back I’ll pick up the rest of my stuff,” I assured my brother as he man-handled the very heavy bags into his car to be stored.

I don’t know about you but I have a hard time remembering what’s in my attic or stashed away in a remote closet so I made a list of all I’d left behind and looked forward to the day I would re-claim my precious belongings.


Shortly after my arrival in London, six years later, my brother brought the cases to my air bnb.

Upstairs I opened them to the pungent smell of mildew.

To my dismay there was absolutely nothing inside that I couldn’t live without…

“Can I just take the jackets and comforters to the thrift shops?” my brother asked not wanting to lug them home to take up residency again in the shed at the end of his garden.

“No, they reek, everything would have to be cleaned first….”

“Why do they smell?”

“The result of living in a damp garage for years…Sorry!” I added.

I was humbled by what I had found,

items that I couldn’t get rid of the last time I left,

were quite disposable now.

I learned, hands on, a lesson we’d taught our children during the homeschooling years,

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:19-21

For a season we kept a jar for each family member labelled Treasure in Heaven and when one of us did a good deed that was noticed a bead was put into his or her jar by the noticer.

We assessed the jars each week and soon found that they were pretty evenly filled.

Good deeds, kindness, smiles and thoughtfulness abounded for the few weeks during Lent we did this spiritual exercise and drove home an important message:

Don’t put so much stock in material possessions that we leave behind when we die…

instead lay up all those wonderful deeds and attitudes, love and joy to await you in heaven.



And here I was, empty nester, forgetful of those bible lessons I had taught, hanging onto earthly goods that I could not let go, and returning to find them destroyed, not by rust or moth but by mold…

The Moldy Suitcase Revelation.

I have pledged this Lent to carefully consider everything I think of as indispensable and important to my life now and measure its worth against my afterlife with God in paradise.

We had a tranquil household during the Treasure in Heaven weeks,

Perhaps Hubs and I can re-visit that tranquility this Lent.

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2020-02-21 23:05:27 Reply


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