I am reading in Ecclesiastes this morning...not a book I have spent much time in, but for some reason I found myself there today. It is fitting, since it talks about the "riches" we accumulate in life, as we have just divided up Mom's belongings among her kids and grandkids. Mom's treasures...her many dish collections, her angels, nativity sets, crystal serving bowls, handmade doilies and bookmarks, and jewelry holders. She loved things shiny and pretty and "rich" looking, even if it came from the Dollar Store. I think if she could have been born in another era, it would have been in the early 1900's in England, like Downton Abbey. Her and the Dowager would have either loved or hated each other, but I have a feeling they would have found each other amusing. It wasn't just about the material things for Mom though, I know that. Her most treasured possessions were things that she had gotten from others...her great grandmother's platter, her grandmother's bible, her mom's teacup sets, and things that us kids and grandkids gave her. I found many letters and drawings and cards given to her over the years...all saved and kept in perfect condition.
It has been a weird feeling to see all the "things" that are left over from Mom's life. All in boxes now, waiting to be distributed to their new homes. Memories of Mom and the things she liked and held precious. She used to want to ask me what things I wanted when she died...she has been doing this since her 40's and I used to think it was morbid, or obsessive or something. Now I realize that it probably became important to her when her own mother died. Mom would be happy to know that most of the things she had in her hutches are now going to the homes of those who love her, and will hold onto these things because they were hers...a little piece of her to remember and treasure.
But when I read in Ecclesiastes this morning, at our table with my coffee and my husband, I wonder what Mom thinks of her things now? Are they still important, or is she hoping we will see past them to what is truly important in life...knowing God and following the path that He has set before each of us? Loving each other and spending time together, so much more important than having pretty things in a hutch to look at. I think one can have both, as long as we keep things in perspective. As Joyce Meyer said once, it is ok to have nice things as long as they don't have you.
For me, like my mom and grandma, it is the things that others have given me that mean the most. Without a doubt. Everything else can be replaced. But these things should never become idols, and neither should the ones who gave them to me. I am guilty of both, but I think God is teaching me at this season of life that He wants to be the greatest treasure of my heart. The greatest love of my life. My purpose is not to accumulate more things, or make more money, or worship the people or places on this earth. My purpose is to know and love the Creator of all things, the Sustainer of life, the One who gives meaning and purpose to this world and everything in it. He gives us a love of beauty, both in nature and in things created, because it is one of His own qualities and helps us find enjoyment in this life. But He also gives us a void that cannot be filled by the things and people of this world...because He wants us to come to Him and realize that He is the only One who truly satisfies the longing of our hearts.