I have an assignment foryou today: Take time to look at the knickknacks in your home and remember thestory behind them. And if they do nothave a story attached to them, ask yourself why you are keeping them andallowing them to take up space and collect dust.
What makes them beautiful and meaningful is the stories attached to them. If there is no story attached to them, then you’d be better served selling them on Ebay and giving the money to charity.
I travel a lot and I’velearned something. A motel room can bebeautiful, but nothing beats the beauty of pulling into your own driveway. Why? The difference is the stories. The motel room has anonymous beauty but home…it’sgot precious stories attached to it.
There is a place for utilitarianand anonymous beauty—off the rack clothes for work and school, decorative napkinsand paper plates for the pot luck social, notepads to write a phone number on, acheap, made in China, hammer to hang a picture.
But whatever you do, butdon’t forget to occasionally, on a cold winter’s eve, put on that beautiful oldsweater that was knitted by your grandmother and remember the stories.
And don’t rush through thatonce or twice-a-year family meal when your great-great-grandmother’s beautiful wedding-giftchina is pulled out for use. Make yourelders tell some of the stories attached to that china.
And keep those beautiful stickman,drawn-with-a-crayon pictures your children and grandchildren gave you close by,so that occasionally you can pause and treasure their beauty and thestories.
And every once in a while,on a Saturday morning, just be before you crank up your lawn mower, take amoment and rummage through your dad’s old toolbox and remember…remember the goodtimes and lessons learned.
And when it comes to ourrelationship with God…
No wonder the majority of atheist live in cities with their sterile, soulless and storiless skyscrapers and stripe malls. It’s easy to tune out the God-story (Gospel) there, but it’s hard to be an atheist when you look out over a snowcap mountain range down into a flower-strewed meadow with a babbling brook behind you whispering a love song in your ear.
First, you know man hadnothing to do with building it and, secondly, it is extremely hard to believethat all that beauty just popped out nothing as some kind of proton soup and immediatelycreated time and space so that it could exist and eventually coalesced intostars and planets and finally into snow-capped mountain ranges and flower-strewedvalleys nourished by babbling brooks.
Instinctively we know that Someone did this and they did it well. Our heart longs to know the story attached to that place—and the pursuit of that story and the One who wrote it is the essence of religion.
Call me old-fashioned, but I grow weary of the beautiful and sterile places of worship we so often have today—where’s the stories? I long to sit on a pew that someone’s great-grand parents bought by sacrificing a week’s salary (I can bring a pillow to sit on if it is too hard for me) and to kneel at an altar stained by generations of tears, and to, at least occasionally, sing songs that my sire’s sires sang.
No wonder recentgenerations are known for their lack of reverence and sacrificial giving—poor things,they’ve never heard the stories. Theirchurch has the feel of sitting in a beautiful waiting room. Who cares if you spill a little coffee on thefine, neutral-colored commercial carpet while you flip through magazineswaiting for the doctor (God) to take care of your pain and problem. It may be a little embarrassing and even slightlyirritating, but hardly worth stressing out over, and making life-style changes,and offering to help pay for the clean-up cost.
Don’t get me wrong, we must never worship the spiritual knickknacks, but we must not forget the stories attached to them. And more importantly, we must not fail to share the beautiful stories attached to them with each generation that comes after us.
Oh well, that’s enough onall that. We both have an assignment tocomplete—time to go dust off the knickknacks.