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Am I Collecting People Or Things

25 Jul

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Am I Collecting People or Things?  As I ponder that question over the years I think you would agree we all spend so much time collecting all sorts of “stuff”.  For me it’s been anything from the latest laptops, phones and iPads, gadgets, clothes, jewelry, shoes, purses and so much more.  WHY?

Now don’t get me wrong.  We can be frugal around here, and I shop sales.  I am shopping now for a new washer and dryer.  My old Maytags are still going and I bought them when our son was a baby over 37 years ago.  I’m looking at Speed Queens because they say they are built to last 25 years and if that is true they will out last me.  I can be thrifty, but I also don’t mind spending money on things that last.

I admit I have gotten much better the older I get.  The older I get, the more I realize how important people are – not my things.    I can go shopping and come home with nothing.  I do it often because the house is full of too much “stuff” I don’t need, and truly I need to purge and purge.  I have spent the summer trying to clean out closets, and still trying to find the time to work on them.  So far I’ve donated a trash bag of shoes and a trash bag of clothes, and I took some nice work outfits to the resale shop.  There is a box upstairs collecting all kinds of things for donating.  There is still so much to purge – like 3 closets of clothes, 2 closets of coats, and eight chests of drawers of mostly my stuff.  I suppose us women fill up the house, and our men fill up the garages, their sheds and barns.

When we lost my Mom a few years back, I learned what happens to all the stuff:

  • You take a lot of it home so you have more stuff.
  • You have several garage/estate sales, and in the process you bring in some more items that remind you of Mom and Dad.
  • You give away and give away and give away to friends and neighbors and organizations.
  • You store it for more sales that never happen,  and then you give more away.
  • You throw away and throw away and shred and shred.
  • You wear yourself out going through all the “stuff”.

I also learned when we lost Mom and Dad, and many other loved ones it is not the things, but the memories of all the times we spent together making memories, and all the little things that I brought home that bring back memories – the pictures and the little teacups and a few dishes, an old radio, and old wall phone, those precious Christmas ornaments Mom gave us each year – little things that remind me of them.  Memories, pictures, moments, smiles are what matter.

I also learned that our kids are not going to care about most of this stuff that I cling to so I have been tossing and throwing so they don’t have to.  While I’m cleaning I have those thoughts of what mess am I leaving them.

Collecting People – Not Things.   What are we doing that will last a lifetime because those cars, houses and gadgets won’t?  Or how about that closet of clothes and shoes and purses.  Cars get old, gadgets crash, and homes have to be remodeled over and over (unless you are buying new ones all the time), nice dishes are never used, and those clothes and shoes go out of style.  At what cost have we or are we,  harming our families because those things can become more important than them?

Collecting people – not things.  Your husband has his eyes on a ball game, a fishing show or even that awful RFD channel.  Does it drive you crazy or do you take the time to enjoy it with him?  Sometimes I try and usually give up unless I am sitting here blogging (like now), tracing my family tree on Ancestry or working on my Bible studies and doing my own thing,   BUT at least I am sitting here next to him and not in another room watching something else.  People more than things.  When he turns on a movie or program I like, I love laying my head in his lap and enjoying the movie or sometimes I fall asleep.  Naps are a great way to get a little snooze in, but an even better way to get a lot of cuddling in.

Does your spouse have to compete with your cell phone, your computer, or your television when you go out to eat?  Honestly, I try not to answer the cell when we are at a meal or doing something together unless we are expecting an important phone call.  

Collecting people – not things.   I substitute teach and see so many students and parents placing emphasis on things – tennis shoes, shirts, pants, purses, backpacks, cell phones.  I’ve even listened to kids make fun of another’s  tennis shoes when I am subbing in gym class. It’s sad judging someone by their shoes or clothes.   Is that how they are being taught at home, rather than judging one by his/her personality or heart?  I still remember a girl walking up to me in school when I had a new, cute dress on, and she commented it was out of season.  It was September and it was beautiful green colors (not summery at all)  so not sure why, but I’ve never forgotten it or the rudeness of it.  For the rest of the day I was miserable in my new dress.

Oh how must our Lord cry out “people are more important than things.” You might hear me talking back  in a nice way to someone at school putting another child down because of their clothes.  Oh how I wish I could talk to them about Jesus like my teachers were allowed to do.  How different would this world be if we could love like Jesus and share His love!  I just want to cry sometimes because a child is hurting and I want to say, “Jesus loves you and died for you.”   I can’t but our students can.  Oh to share the love of Jesus and not the love of things breaks my heart most days when I’m at school.

You might also hear me giving a lesson on phones.  Last year I asked to borrow a charger.  Not one single student in any of my classes that day had a charger for my “older” phone.  They made fun of my phone because they always have the latest new iPhone.  Mine was an old iPhone 4 as they called it.  I do now have the newest phone out, but I don’t go out and buy to have the newest.  When I buy it’s because I can’t download an app anymore or for me the last one was because my Bible study app had stopped working, and we were about to have new grand babies and I was wanting a new phone for me and my hubby to take better pictures.  By the time school starts another phone will be on its way in and mine will be old again, but it will be here as long as it works and I can read my First 5 devotions each day.

Collecting people – not things.   People put down those cell phones when you are out with family.     I mean really people, why can’t we put them down for thirty minutes.  Aren’t people more important than things?  Isn’t that smile from a grandchild or a comment from your family more important than that text pinging on your phone?  Can we just feast on real life with our friends and family.  I am thankful our family does ignore their phones.  My husband even commented on Christmas Day about all of my family and how they were involved with the games we were playing and not sitting there texting but enjoying family.

Collecting people – not things.  One last thing, but probably the most important.  Don’t look at a cell phone and drive.  How can we even think of it with someone else like children in the car, or other cars around you.  Are you guilty?  Please don’t do it.  If you have to look pull over.  I do talk on the phone in the car, but my car has a phone so both hands are on the wheel and eyes on the road.  If the cell phone pings or I need to dial a number it can wait until I stop or pull over.  Don’t go through the tragedy of losing a loved one because of a second on a phone, or causing so much pain to another family by taking their loved ones.  Every single time we are on the highway we see people with a phone reading or texting.  You can always tell when you are about to pull up beside someone doing it. It’s scary at 65-75 mph seeing someone weaving.  You always know you will see a cell phone if you have the courage to go around.

How can we collect people and moments – not things?

  • Have lunch/coffee with friends, neighbors or family.  Turn your phones off.
  • Get in the floor and play with your kids or grandkids – blocks, puzzles, cars, etc..  Turn off the television unless you are watching a movie together.
  • Go for a walk or run with someone.  Hold hands with your hubby.
  • Go for a drive and visit while you do.
  • Visit a neighbor.  Take them some cookies or cake.  I especially like to do this for a recent widower and his daughter.  Find a widow or widower in your neighborhood or church.
  • Sit down and read a book to your kids or grandkids.
  • Call someone and really talk instead of texting.
  • Snuggle up and watch a movie with your loved one.
  • Have a date night and ban the phone.
  • Cook a romantic dinner and sit down and really talk.
  • Call your husband/wife at work and ask how their day is going.  Focus on them and stop fussing about your day.
  • Meet your loved ones at the door and welcome your spouse with a kiss as they walk in the door.  Kiss them as they leave in the morning.
  • Pray together as a family.  Sit down and ask for requests and pray.
  • Visit a nursing home and take some small jars of flowers and visit some folks who don’t have family.  Ask the nursing home.  They will share with you who you can visit.
  • Take a meal to someone who is shut-in.
  • Offer to keep some children so a couple can have a date-night.  Many young adults in your neighborhood or church don’t have family around to help.

Let’s stop basing our happiness on things and base them on others.

“Love people, not things; use things, not people.”  Spencer W. Kimball

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