Yesterday was a difficult day for me, and I knew it would be. Yesterday I was responsible for clearing out the storage unit where my Dad’s final earthly possessions were. It was one week after his funeral. I had asked a friend to help by using his truck and muscles to help my husband move some furniture. We already had it set up to for the local hospice thrift store to pick up what would remain, so that we could help others less fortunate and in need.
In my mind, I thought that my husband and friend would pack up what we were taking, and then be off. That would leave me with looking through the contents of Dad’s possessions (and still many left that belonged to my Mom). My friends had a different plan, and I am so blessed. Not only did my friend come, but his wife – my dear friend and co-host of our weekly Bible study came to help. They helped me look through each box – what papers of my Dad’s did I need to keep – what did I need to destroy – and what possessions did I want to keep and what did I want to donate, or in some cases throw away? The four of us went through everything pretty quickly. I didn’t break down, but just worked through the task at hand with my friends and husband, who truly were angelic “helping hands”.
Community happened yesterday. Friends came together to bear the burden of a difficult situation. To sweat together, to love, to take on an emotionally-difficult task for me out of love. I remember thinking and saying out loud just how quickly we could go through someone’s final possessions. (Although truthfully, I had been working through much of that for the past 6 years.) And then I began to think about earthly and heavenly treasures.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21)
Truthfully, my Dad didn’t care much about earthly possessions. He did like his huge TV – he liked to watch the financial reports, and baseball and football games. Other than that, it was usually just on for some company. He liked his dropleaf table and the two chairs, but it wasn’t because of how the table looked – it was what he used the table for: playing cards and dominoes. He so enjoyed playing games, laughing, talking and communing with those who came to play.
Later I was by myself when hospice came to pick up all that remained – those items, some other furniture including a lift-chair, and other stuff. Some of those items will be given directly to hospice patients who need them, some items will be sold in the thrift store and the proceeds will directly help the hospice patients. Even in death, my Dad’s legacy of helping others continues – that felt right to me. Though I shed many tears as I watched his final possessions being loaded on a truck, it wasn’t the items I cried over – it’s the loss of my Dad.
My Dad cared much more about community. The fact that community happened yesterday was both a blessing and a continuation of his legacy. My Dad stored up his treasures in heaven – and he now has his reward. Although I will continue to grieve the loss of his life, I rejoice for Dad that his community is now a heavenly one with angels and he is finally in the presence of our Lord.