Monday, September 28, 2009

Put My House in Order

For the past week I’ve been trying to put my house in order for our annual family reunion. This year I’m the hostess for my seven siblings and their families.

My busy life has turned home into the place where I sleep, and housekeeping has fallen by the wayside. While putting my house in order, I’ve sorted through years of paperwork and dug into hidey-holes. I’ve stayed up past my bedtime every night for a week while I sorted, dusted, tossed, or packed items in plastic storage tubs.

If I had been on a scavenger hunt, I would surely be a winner. I found the USB for the MP3 Player I recently replaced with an IPOD. It was still an ah-hah moment to discovered I had tucked it into an old camera case. In my Suzy Homemaker mode, dusting wasn’t good enough so I removed a cloth angel for a thorough cleaning and uncovered Jim’s long-lost dog tags on the hook behind it. Memories were tucked away in an old Christmas tin. I found tattered valentines from Jim and my eyes blurred when I read his “Love you always” signature.

This week has turned into a trail of discovery as I ferreted out long-forgotten secrets. I am not sure at what point in life I turned into a packrat. It wasn’t so bad when Jim was here to coerce me into tossing souvenirs and freebies from conventions and state fairs. On my own, I just tuck them away, and add to the clutter.

While I was frantically cleaning, my co-worker and friend, Brenda spent precious moments with her husband before he left his worldly home and passed to the next. Ray had battled cancer and knowing his time was limited, he worked at putting his house in order. He made his own arrangements and wrote his obituary. His family knew his wishes and fulfilled them precisely. Following Ray’s instructions, his ashes were placed into his Honeymooner’s cookie jar. You can almost hear Ray’s hearty laugh anticipating the look on unsuspecting faces when they see the “urn” he has chosen.

When friends or loved ones die, it makes us pause and contemplate our own mortality. I often say my kids are going to be really mad at me when they have to sort through my worldly possessions. Barring a horrific accident, I should have time to go through all those tubs filled with things I can’t part with yet. I certainly plan to get my house in order so my family doesn’t have to rummage through my belongings to separate treasures from junk.

Death also makes me question the order of my spiritual house which has become cluttered and needs a good dusting. Hopefully, when my time comes, my house will be in order from top to bottom and I won’t have to try to make it right at the last minute.

The best thing about a clean house is being able to relax without the mental nagging to get busy and finish. When that day comes, I can truthfully say, “I can rest now—my work here is done.” For now, I’m not even close.
copyright (c) 2009
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