“Many years ago, Sharon and I decided we would clutter our lives with people instead of things. Our most valuable possessions are relationships.”
My dad shared many other sweet, tender, challenging thoughts in the letters he gave to my husband me on the day we got married seven years ago. He talked about prayers he had prayed and how I am so much like my mother when she was young. He gave advice and offered praise. While all of his thoughts are ones I will treasure… my parents’ philosophy on life is the sentiment that has stuck with me the most.
I often wonder if I am living my life well, if I am making choices I can be proud of when I look back on my life. The answer isn’t always “yes” but as I look back over the past few months I see my husband and I taking steps to live a “cluttered” life.
The weeks have been filled but with things of value.
A visit from my mom.
A trip up to see my sister and do nothing really, other than curl up against the cold and the rain with the baby between us and watch countless hours of Once Upon a time. We visited and told stories and caught up. But mostly we just sat silently, taking turns bouncing the baby, watching TV, and just existing together the way only sisters sometimes can.
A breakfast with one of my best friends. The one that moved out of town last March causing me to cry for days because she was the only one left in town who knew me before my husband and knew my history and where I was from and because of that understood where I was going.
A visit from a girl (woman really) who’s story is so wound up in mind it would take pages to explain. She may not be blood but she is family and the women in our families are now all tied up together in layers of loving and mentoring and doing life together for three generations and close to 40 years. For a few short days she came and staid in our guest room and walked with us to the bus top, and played games with my girls and rocked them to sleep the way her mother once did for myself and my older sisters and I once did for her and her sister.
And in between it all shared dinners with my brother and his family (they live in our basement) and getting to watch my nephew learn how to walk.
An off the cuff get together with the neighbors when I forgot to get fever reducer after Tacy’s first shots and they brought some over.
A Halloween party with the people we do life with and sitting on the kitchen floor surrounded by friends and kids and babies and the cat eating kit-kats and laughing and escaping from the frustrations we all have with trying to make ends meet these days.
Living the cluttered life isn’t always easy. It can be costly. Love hurts and allowing your life to be filled with people means being surrounded by love but also being surrounded by a millions ways for your heart to be broken.
My wedding day wasn’t the first time I had my dad verbalized this concept of a cluttered life. My parents spoke and lived this ideal in front of me my entire life and continue to do so.
This past weekend is a perfect example. In two short days they attended the funeral of a man who was taken from his family in his early forties. He and his siblings and mine had grown up together: their stories intertwining in a way that changes lives and shapes who we become. He died to young and it has shaken my family deeply.
The left strait from the funeral to attend a wedding of two young people who grew up in my father’s church. A young man and woman whom I grew up with, whom I baby sat at points in time, and who are now this amazing couple with their whole lives ahead of them.
The next day my parents drove four hours to attend a party celebrating my nephew’s first birthday. My girls and I were also able to be there so we had four out of the eight grandkids, and three out of the six siblings all in the same room so we laughed and talked and passed babies and gave hugs and kisses and told stories.
It was a cluttered weekend to say the least… cluttered with people and memories and emotions and the things in life that we will look back on and say “those are moments when we were alive”.