This entry is part of a blog series, Time Capsules, that considers what our family’s stored artifacts tell about our family history. Today, I invite you to look at the keepsakes scattered throughout our home.
Estate sales sometimes include a bin labeled “Miscellaneous”. In this container is all the stuff that couldn’t be assigned monetary worth. After more easily identified articles are sold and carted away, the contents of this box remain unsold, perhaps never recognized for their intrinsic worth.
Our home—perhaps yours, too?—is filled with these 1 items. They’re usually small, uncommon and hard to describe. Each of them holds an invisible story—its sentimental or spiritual value—that marks it as a cherished treasure. Their presence reminds us of the tapestry of our journey together—especially the dear people who have given us these keepsakes.
If their backgrounds remained unknown to others, our 2 heirlooms could fill that forgettable Miscellaneous Box. Understandably so: My precious keepsakes could be another person’s useless litter. On the other hand: Unknown or lost memories can result in unfinished identities.
I’m not sure what to do about this. One possibility is to name a small number of only the most significant pieces as heritage gifts. I might also do what Chris’ mom did years before her death: With their assent, she assigned her most precious treasures to individual children and grandchildren. Both options would capture the essence of these artifacts, making them another part of our legacy.
Although these things may seem insignificant, they can fill empty places in the nooks and crannies of our history. Eventually they could add to our descendants’ understanding and appreciation of the quality and direction of our life.
I think this is a spiritual matter, too. The meaning of these objects is their connection to our values, friendships, life callings, hopes and prayers. God’s goodness peeks out from these mementos, reminding us how God’s grace has lovingly carried us into these later years.
The highest treasured worth…!
1 Nearby examples of possible Miscellaneous Box items: An assortment of friendship bracelets woven by youth in the Nicaraguan Lutheran Church; a small ceramic potbelly pig; some political campaign posters and buttons; a brass Ethiopian processional cross and an Erzgeburge miniature ladybug band. Their stories are more than just interesting…!
2 An heirloom is a keepsake that’s inseparable from the memories of its owner.