I am a sentimental person.
I'm the type who gets "attached" to things.
I still have a pair of shoes that I purchased in Germany when I was a freshman in high school. I have two empty ring boxes in my dresser (one from my engagement ring, and one from my wedding band). I have a paper cup from Hardee's- my first high school job- in a box in a closet. I have a white-board from my college dorm room with a message still written on it in pink marker- it says, "I love you!! -Clare." And don't even get me started on the piles of rocks...
I get attached.
A few months ago, Trevor and I sold a car- the Geo Tracker.
We'd begun trying to sell it several years ago, actually. It had started acting up right after we got married. We'd stored it at Trevor's folks' home, had a friend do some fixing on it, limped it up to our new home, had another friend fix it, and had purchased a more reliable vehicle in the meantime.
It was time for the Tracker to find a new home.
We knew that it was running well again, and that it would make a good car for a college student or someone who wasn't going to go long distances very often- it just didn't fit us anymore.
The problem was, I didn't want to let go. The new vehicle fit our needs much better, but the Tracker...
See, the Tracker had so many memories in it.
While we were dating, Trevor picked me up from Minneapolis in the Tracker. We held hands and I fell asleep against his shoulder as he drove me back to the bus stop when it was time for me to go to home to Chicago again.
We discovered Holiday gas station lattes and drank lots of them in the Tracker.
I threw up out the window of the Tracker when I got food poisoning. (Not the best memory, but a memory...)
We loaded the Tracker completely full and drove through a blizzard to move Trevor in to his apartment in Mankato.
I drove the Tracker every day for several months when I worked in Minnesota. And I learned how four-wheel drive actually works in those icy months.
Trevor asked me to marry him after a trip to the Black Hills- a trip we took in the Tracker. He washed the windshield at a gas station and I remember thinking, "That guy is going to be my husband!" and feeling overwhelmed with gratitude.
|See the background? The interior of the Tracker.|
How could I let go of all those memories?
I don't think I'm alone in that, really. We all keep things because of the memories they hold for us. Whether it's pictures, or a wedding dress in the closet, or a pair of shoes, a special hat, a necklace... we all hold on.
And most of the time, those little things in our closets or in boxes under our beds- they're not a big deal.
But sometimes, when we hold on to things, we prevent ourselves from moving forward.
We weren't using the Tracker. It was taking up space in our already crowded garage. And we definitely didn't need three vehicles between the two of us. It wasn't useful to us anymore. Full of memories and history, but no longer a part of helping us to move forward.
The "things" that we attribute so many memories to- they aren't any less a part of our history because we part with them. The fabric of our lives are woven by those memories- they've made us who we are. It's difficult to let the "things" go sometimes, even when we know that the letting go will open us up to new experiences. Even when we know that the letting go will be for good.
We sold the Tracker to a nice young man on a windy Tuesday afternoon.
And yes, I did take some stealth-pictures of it before the guy drove it away.
And yes, I did go into the house that afternoon, after watching the Tracker turn down the road and drive out of sight, and I did cry.
I still have those memories, though.
We may not have the Tracker anymore, but I have the memories. The happy memories, the history of my life, isn't contained in things. It was sad to see that good old car go, yes, but it was also so very exciting. See, my history isn't contained in a car, and it doesn't end with a car.
The adventure continues.
The adventure of our lives always continues. God is writing a glorious story in each of our lives. The characters may change, the scenery may change, the car we're driving into the sunset may change, but the story keeps going.
We keep living out the truth of God's love, sharing it with the world, and living in the daily blessings that point us to Him. The story keeps going, sometimes even more fully and beautifully, after the letting go.