Ignoring Reality…

When we moved into our country estate less than a fortnight ago the reality hit me.

We were empty nesters and no matter how many properties we sold, or countries we lived in or house sitting assignments we took the fact that our children no longer abided with us could no longer be ignored.

The running had come to an end and our new house became Most Valued Possession, after faith of course and health.

There was no more turning away.

I was stunned by the outstanding array of cardboard boxes


that held enough knick knacks, antiques and memorabilia

KnickKnacks5 to set up a fairly decent stall in Camden Town.

I thought I’d downsized effectively, two years ago, until I started unpacking and found myself carting anything I greeted with a,

“Now, why did I keep this?” or,

“How many jackets do I really need when I’ve managed with two all this time?” and,

“That’s my fourth pair of high heeled black shoes,” as I looked down at my sneaker clad feet,

To half-price books, Goodwill or the recycle bins.

“Pack it away and keep it in the attic,” Hubs suggested.

I decided, if it’s not useful, beautiful or weighty with meaning it takes up precious space in my cupboard, on my floor and in my heart.


My son in California suggested I load everything into a U-Haul truck, drive it to L.A. leave it parked on a side street for the night and find it missing in the morning,

“That solved my problem of burdensome belongings…” it also deprived him of irreplaceable items that he would have chosen to keep given the opportunity.

“Good idea, but I think I’ll do the culling myself,” I said and added wearily, “at the end of the day when I’m so exhausted nothing I find warrants an invitation to stay, I know that in the morning I have a second chance to look it over again.”

Quite honestly, if I haven’t missed it in two years I really don’t need it, but setting up house again is quite different to setting up temporary residence in a flat, hotel room or grandma’s ranch.

Setting up house again puts an end to transitory living and ignoring reality.

I cast an eye over some of the things I’d collected over the last thirty years,


and wondered,

“Do we, as humans, save all this stuff to remind ourselves of who we are?”

I pondered the piles of papers, shelves of books, files of records, racks of dresses and jars of paperclips (both mine and my father’s) and asked of the world at large,

“Is the trick to my life, the more I have the stronger I am?  The more popular I must be?  The better I’ll become?  The longer I’ll live?  Most importantly, will my great wealth of personal effects guarantee that I’ll be forever remembered?”

How much stock do I put in tickets to shows, shoes worn once, paper bags from stately homes in England, address books from my school days, dozens and dozens of hand written journals, T-shirts from events enjoyed or worked, bulletins from churches attended around the world, leather bookmarks from European museums and oriental rugs?


What about God’s eternal plan for me?  Will all this stuff get me to heaven?  Will it make me happier in this transitory life?

Of course not it is my faith that sustains me.

However, my new four walls, filled with familiar paraphernalia and suffused with a sacred atmosphere will provide an unconditional  refuge for my children whenever they need it.

It will be a place for me to steward until I pass it on.

As the owners of grand homes in England say,

“We do not own this place, we are its guardians.”

This house and our surrounding property is ours for now to do with as we please…

…in the autumn of our marriage.

There is plenty of potential and absolutely no pressure.

With God in charge everything is possible.

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