from trash to treasure

from trash to treasure

I watched her out of the corner of my eye. Tears were forming in hers. We’d just settled into our evening watch of American Idol when I noticed her sadness. The “boys” present in the room shrugged it off as insignificant. Boys are like that sometimes, not seeing past the tears to the deeper issue at work. But this momma… the girl in me… recognized her tears. I cried some similar ones in my younger years. Tears that now, in hindsight, seem frivolous and unwarranted, yet tears at the time of their initial release important in keeping with the moment.
A letting go kind of moment.
Let me explain.
My eight-year-old daughter is attached to her stuff. Whether it be her well-worn blanket (a.k.a. burp cloth from her infant days), her stuffed animals (enough to allow her only an eighth of an inch of her mattress for sleeping purposes), her hidden stash of Kit-Kats from Halloween, or her Sponge Bob Crocs from two years ago, my Amelia isn’t keen on letting go of her belongings. She’s a keeper of things, believing in their significance even if they’ve outlived their practical usefulness. She’ll fight hard for their survival, and last night would prove the same.
Occasionally, my daughter drinks from a sippy cup; she wouldn’t do so in mixed company, but in the safety of home, she prefers the cups from her toddler days. Over the years we’ve thrown several out, but two remain… until last evening. Alas, one of the screw-on tops to the cups did a dance with the dishwasher and came out mangled. My husband made the tragic mistake of announcing its demise and, subsequently, threw it in the trash can. My daughter was stunned by the revelation but kept her emotions in check. For a few minutes. Until the familiar intro to Idol began. And that is when I noticed her tears.
Amelia, what’s wrong?
Silence. More tears. (*Note to self… asking the question usually opens the floodgates to further tears.)
Amelia, are you upset about something?
Silence. Tears now freely flowing down her cheeks; body beginning to shake.
Amelia, are you crying about your cup?
Hesitantly she spoke, carefully camouflaging her angst so as not to attract the attention of the boys in the room…
Mommy, I need that lid.
I thought that might be the case, daughter. Would you like to keep it in your room?
Yes.
Then go get it.
Tears stopped, eyes were wiped, and a bee-line was made to the trash can and then to her room. Moments later, she settled herself back onto the couch and all was well with her heart. And I got to thinking.
About attachments. About the heart of a child that is willing to hold onto “things”… needs to hold onto things even though others deem them unnecessary, unimportant, limited in their usefulness. About what makes a “thing” more than a “thing.” About when a “thing” becomes something valuable and about why, as adults, we sometimes think it necessary to make that something lesser in its status.
As adults, we’re well-informed and well-trained with our “letting gos.” We don’t get too far into our maturing without experiencing a few painful ones. The capacity to “let go” and do so with some measure of grace is often the mark of maturity. We preach it, teach it, write about it, and live it. My life history is replete with such benchmark moments. I hope they’ve aided in my maturation at every level, but just last night I started thinking about it all. Wondering if maybe it’s OK to keep some attachments to certain things. To store them away and keep them hidden because they became a something to me in a previous season.
That maybe, sometimes we rush the “letting go.” That we are quick to throw away the “things” that have become something to us just because they’ve gotten a bit mangled and torn by the daily wear and tear of our handling therein. That, perhaps, by keeping a few of them, we’ll have a better chance of remembrance in years to come when recall becomes paramount to our moving forward.
Indeed, we need to “get on with the gettin’” on as it pertains to our growing up on the inside, but what if our growing up is, at least in part, related to our holding onto a few things? What well-worn things have we prematurely let go of in favor of shiny, new ones just for the sake of usefulness? I have no illusions that the lid to my daughter’s sippy cup will ever serve as a functioning lid again. But to her it is useful, at least for a little while longer. Why?
Because it’s part of her history.
She and that lid have some longevity. They’ve shared some years together, been as close to one another as a temporal thing can get to an eternal beating soul. When she was a toddler, she carried it with her everywhere she went. At eight, she limits her carrying to times of thirst. And I imagine in another year or so, she’ll outgrow her need for its companionship. But for now, it’s still something to her. And I find that beautiful and poignant and a message of grace meant for my own soul this day.
She needs her lid, and I need a childlike heart that is willing fight hard for a few things worth preserving. Things that are worth holding onto because they’re part of my history. Things that are meant for the treasure box and not the trash can. Things that are more valuable because of their wear and tear over the years and because of my handling therein. Things that, in the eyes of others may not seem like much, but things that are precious to me because they have “touched” my lips and made their way into my heart as a forever keeping.
I’m not into hoarding or collecting stuff for collection’s sake. And if you’re a regular reader of my words then you know I’m all about the “letting go” process. But I will tell you this… I’m a proponent of holding onto a few things that have become somethings to us. If we don’t have a few somethings, then our lives run the risk of floating aimlessly through our earthly tenures.
We all need an anchor in this season. A tried and true, reliable “holding onto” that will see us through to tomorrow. I don’t know what yours is—the one thing that you are willing to dig out of the trashcan and hide away as a treasure in the deep recesses of your heart—but I do know what mine is. And in many ways, it resembles a well-worn, well-chewed upon, overly used, and mangled sippy-cup lid.
A holding faith.
And I will fight to the death for that one, friends. Cry some tears over it and make sure that everyone in the room, including the boys, understand the fact that my faith isn’t made for the trashcan. That instead, I’ll store it away where my daughter has chosen to store her lid.
In my treasure chest… my heart (I had to search hard to find it in her room this morning). There’s a history we share, my faith and me, that’s worth holding onto. May it be the same for each one of us. Let us not be quick to discard an old faith as unnecessary, unreliable, limited in its usefulness. Let us, instead, be quick to hide it as newly discovered wealth to serve as a continual anchor in the seasons to come. May your faith be your something… the one thing… you’re willing to fight for today.
Keep to it, my good companions on the journey. Keep to the road of faith. As always…
Peace for the journey,

post signature

PS: I’ll be MIA most of next week as I’m scheduled for surgery on Monday at 8:00 AM. I would appreciate your continuing prayers. Shalom.

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38 Responses to from trash to treasure

  1. Elaine, I love the way your sweet daughter wanted to hold on to that piece of her history. My girls are sentimental like that, too. We still have a Hello Kitty toothbrush holder attached to the wall in our bathroom 🙂 And I'm like you, some visible reminders of our past are cherished items indeed.

    All the best next week. Praying for you as always!

  2. My daughter sucked her thumb till about eight. Only at bedtime. Never at school.

    Our granddaughter hung on to the remnants of her blankie (she called it a suckie) at least to this age. Nobody made fun of her. She used her blankie only when she was tired. She eventually grew out of it.

    Let us never grow out of our faith. It's the ultimate gift to us from God.

  3. I think we women were made to treasure up and ponder. Obviously Mary was very good at it. She treasured up her thoughts of her infant son and pondered them the rest of her life.

    Blessings to sweet Amelia and to you to. So thankful you were sensitive to her precious tears.

    Will be praying for you next week. Wish I lived closer and could bring over some creamy chicken enchiladas for your supper.

    Leah

  4. I totally love Amelia's sense of attachment to meaningful things in her life. I bet she is one who feels deeply and is a caring, loyal friend as well. These things seem to all go hand in hand. And YOU mom get the drum roll for being so sensitive to her feelings over the sippy cup.

    Praying for you and your week ahead Elaine. May God's comfort and peace be your portion as you continue to navigate these deep waters. Praying for your awesome family as well.

  5. This was just precious! She has such a beautiful and tender heart. And, I totally agree with the holding onto and the letting go. Yesterday, my sister gave me two quilts–one of which was made by my great grandmother–way over 100 years old. She didn't want it and knew how sentimental I am. It's stained from age, but its beauty lies in each square lovingly hand sewn by Dora Moseley–a wonderful woman I have only heard about. It's now folded–so you can't see the stains–on a bench in my bedroom. It's a keeper.

    Will be holding you close in my prayers, sweet friend. Love you!

  6. What a wonderful story and lesson as well. I've wanted to chuck my faith on more than one occassion during the course of events these past few years, but haven't and won't. It's been with me for so long and is life's treasure to help me carry on, just like some of Amelia's top. Blessings to you on Monday–will pray!

  7. This produced a lump in my throat. I have several of those lid things myself, except I call them milestones. They're the markers that give context to my journey, just like Amelia's journey; Amelia's history.

    Such a sweet life lesson.

    Praying for you today, dear one. Praying your surgery is without drama, and your recovery swift.

    To quote a warrior friend, "peace".

    Kathleen

    P.S. Yes, He is the best of "what next?"s. Thank you.

  8. Oh my sweet friend. Surgery? I am so praying for you. Please know that God is always with you. So many of your cyber friends and face-to-face friends are and will be lifting you up in prayer.

    Love you,

    Sheryl

  9. The older I get, the easier it is to let go of things as you well know with all my posts about downsizing! But, I do keep the things that are truly something to me. For me, that's the point of uncluttering…get rid of what isn't meaningful and keep what is.

  10. Oh, that sweet Amelia…she has such a tender heart! This post reminded me of my boys in their younger years, and their boxes of "men toes" (mementos). Items that meant nothing to me, but to them they were most definitely treasures!

    You know I'm praying for you, sweet friend. After what you've been through, I'm praying this surgery will be a very simple procedure for you.

    Love you!

  11. I think all of us girls can identify with your sweet Amelia in one way or another. Some things just have a deep meaning and are soo hard to let go of. I will tell you one of mine right now, which is really pretty silly I guess, but it is where my heart is at…My daughter Melody (I speak of her often I know) is my only daughter AND the baby and therefore the last to leave. For the last 8 years of her living at home years she was the only one there. For many reasons we have always been soo close. One of the things we enjoyed doing together was "decorating" the house etc., and we re-did her bathroom about a year before she moved out.. right before she got engaged. We got two HUGE big pink fluffy towels that I hung on the back of the bathroom door for her to use everyday. She LOVED them because they were soo big, and soft. Anyway, when she was packing to move she told me, "mom, just leave these towels here so when I come home to visit they will be right there for me to use." Of course I did…Well, when we moved two years later, I considered getting rid of them. Maybe sending them to her… Afterall we would no longer have 3 bathrooms, (her's set unused after she married) and my new bathroom was done in aqua's and browns and would the be guest bathroom as well and the pretty pink towels would be out of place in there. But at the end of the day I just wasn't ready to let go of those towels. I hung them on the back of the door in the guest bathroom. Of course she still uses them when she visits, but most of the time they just hang there reminding me of days gone by. Silly really, and yet they just remind me of her and bring a smile to my face. = ) I will be praying that all goes well and your quickly back home and on your way to a speedy recovery. Much love to you, Debbie

  12. Please tell sweet Amelia that I am holding in the second drawer down in my kitchen, a well used sippy cup that I KNOW my 6 year old grandson will miss if he doesn't get it back! He also still loves that chewed up sippy, in the comfort of home. I have washed it and put it in a baggie till he comes next time.

    For some reason, Amelia's story started my tears flowing…

    and then her mommy ties it all together with a beautiful Godly bow, and again… I leave here in tears and blessed!

    I love both of you!!!

    xo

  13. Once again, I love your gift of wrapping a precious story like this one into an even more precious life lesson. Thinking about the lids I hold and treasure and my heart smiles this night.

    Always thinking of you in prayer, sweet sister — next week especially.

    Love & hugs,
    Tracy

  14. Hello, my friend. I know I've been absent from the comment box but I've been reading. Still journeying with you, praying for this coming surgery, holding on to that faith.

    I love you, girlie.

  15. Hi Elaine! SO sweet! I love that she cherishes things that way.

    AND I will be praying for you on Monday!!! Even if I don't often comment I stop by as often as I can!
    Praying for you friend!

  16. Holding on to Faith! It seems that somewhere in these difficult weeks I've placed my faith in too good a hiding place…maybe stashed it away for a better day…yet I'm longing to find it again!
    Sending many prayers toward heaven for you in the days ahead! You are strong and courageous in the Lord Elaine! He shall see you Through!!!

  17. Elaine, I believe this is one of the sweetest pieces you've ever written! I can so identify with it.

    May God bless and be with you my dear friend!

  18. Amen! I have a few things I hold onto too…of course none as precious as my faith…but like your daughter's lid…there's a history there and a comfort.
    I'll be praying for you!

  19. Oh Elaine,

    What a beautiful lesson for us all.

    Thanks so much for sharing this. She is just precious, like her mom.

    Count me in to be among those who will be praying on Monday morning.

    Psalm 27:14

    Wait patiently for the Lord.
    Be brave and courageous.
    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

  20. Praying for you as you undergo surgery. I have read all your posts, but do not recall any mention of a surgery… but anyway, rest assured of our prayers.

    Love this post, Elaine. We need to hold on to some things in our past because they are part of our history. God understands… You told the story so beautifully.

    In reading this I also realized that this explains my reluctance to put away my husbands things. They are still in the closet next to mine, and his desk is virtually untouched – even his bible has the bookmark on the last page where he read it the night before he passed away. I cannot bring myself to move his things out of our bedroom. Not that I am idolizing him, but you are so right… he was so much a part of my life story.

    I so appreciate this post, Elaine.

    Keeping you close,
    Lidj

  21. What a beautiful post. I love this – "Things that are meant for the treasure box and not the trash can." For me this pertains to my heart, body and soul. All things were meant for a treasure box but ended up in the trash can. God retrieved ALL and I'm learning how to be a treasure again.

    I hold onto temporal things that mean something to me. Even if it's just a tiny thing; if it has a place in my history, I keep it.

    Thank you for such a lovely post, and prayers for you for your surgery. xo

  22. I love the picture of the lid in the treasure chest. Precious post.
    I sometimes have a hard time letting go of things, just because my whole childhood I was constantly moving and had to give things up. Now I find myself clinging to things more than I should.

    Praying for you and your surgery.

  23. The sweetest treasure I find here is a mother's love and understanding. That I am sure gathers snugly in Amelia's heart. To have your pain seen and understood is priceless.

    Praying for you Elaine today and on Monday!
    Shalom,
    Denise

  24. Oh, dear sweet Amelia – how she reminds me of me – at that age, and even now. I have always had a sentimental attachment to things – because they're not things, really – they're me.

    I understand the need to hold on…

    And Elaine, how I was blessed by your words. Yes, my faith might be a little beat up, but it's been my lifelong companion. And it's the one thing I'm willing to fight for.

    Keeping to it with you – and will be praying for your surgery.

    GOD BLESS!

  25. precious marked passing of another stage…loved the illustration her attachment provided. really gave me something to ponder.

    praying you through that surgery, dear one! heal well. heal soon.

  26. Precious One, your words continue to inspire and encourage…thank you for sharing priceless insights from our LORD.
    Truly we have a Faith worth treasuring no matter the trial or circumstance.
    Praying for you!
    Love in the Lamb~

  27. Praying for peace for your journey, Elaine. I can identify with a lot in this post. Having moved several times as a child (and later an adult) there was a need for me to carry SOMEthing with me. As an adult, I still have difficulty knowing what to let go of sometimes…..

    Whether or not she can express it, the cup/lid represent something very precious to Amelia.

  28. HI Elaine. Such truth in your words. My girl has a blanky that she takes with her everywhere. I took it with me to China to bring her home and she has had it now 4 years. I don't think she'll ever let go of it. It is a part of her history, it is like a bridge from her old life (China) to her new life with us.

    Will be praying for you!!!

    Love to you!

  29. Precious story. So good to have a mama that understands that what may be trash to some… is our treasure. What others would discard as useless may be the thing that has kept us going and sane for the past few years and holds a place in our heart.

    I will be praying for you and your upcoming surgery.

    Much love to you.

  30. I think we all have things we hold some special attachments and significance to… I know I certainly do. It's wonderful that you and your daughter share an understanding of that quiet importance she has for certain items, and can see them for what they are to her.

    And I understand and appreciate the analogy you make to your faith as well. It's war-hardened and weather-beaten, and yet at the same time deeply precious and beautiful; An essential part of the lovely person you are. 🙂

    You have my continuing prayers for the surgery tomorrow to go smoothly, and for your continued healing.

  31. Sweet Amelia, I am a keeper of things, too. I love that about you and your momma. Keep treasuring and pondering those things that hold your sweetest childhood memories. They will still be special in your grown up years, too.

    Elaine, I'm praying for you sweet friend. Be strong and courageous. He is with you. He will be your strength and shield. Peace to you and yours – all my love! Renee

  32. This post really touched my heart tonight and made me think of some sweet times with my own daughter, who is now an adult. Hold on tight to the things that matter…

    thinking of you with a prayerful heart, Blessings..;j

  33. Both of my children still have their blankets…one is 21 and the other 13. It touches my heart that these things are still special to them…I would say that those blankets remind them of times of comfort and ownership.
    I would say the same thing about the faith that I have held on to through these many years…it has brought comfort and security and it is mine. I guard it deep in my heart because I know our enemy would offer me the world for it…that or try and steal it through life's upheavals.
    Praying for you today.

  34. So beautifully written. I so love how you take the every day, the moment of emotions and tie it into something so profound spiritually!!

    Praying for you!! Many times today!!!

    Believing Him`Pamela

  35. I remember my oldest son accidently breaking a tea-cup my grandmother had given me for Christmas. It had a story, and lot of love – and I learned at that moment that I had to learn to let go of "things" but keep the story in my heart.

    Each of my boys has a wooden box and they keep things that have a story, a moment, a history in those boxes. To a stranger, it's just garbage really – long past its usefulness (like how long can you really keep an empty pez dispenser?).

    One day, they'll walk closer to being the man – and those things will disappear.

    You handled the situation beautifully! Hope everything went well. I'll pray for a quick recovery!

  36. wifeforthejourney:

    How I have shed some of my own tears over your re-telling of Daughter's clinging to her past. She shares your tender heart and may God grow in me an understanding of the positive side of her willful "holding ons."

    Love to you as you continue in your recovery!

    ~ Billy