By Allison Gingras
Do Things Hold My Memories?
Detachment is not my superpower. My past attachments have included clothing, shoes, children’s movies, and music CDs. My basement and attic once filled with things I would never use again, yet I found it difficult to let them go.
Strangely, I find it comforting to keep things around me that hold precious memories. As if the memory would cease to exist apart from the article. Although I knew, these are all things moths can come and destroy (Matthew 6:19 -21), and not the treasure I am storing for heaven; a part of me still clung to all of it.
“Detachment” can be problematic when counting on your possessions for your solace and consolation. Those comforts were fleeting. Many years ago, as I looked around at the piles of things weighing me down, I made the tough yet life-changing decision to rent a dumpster. For an entire weekend, my husband and I sorted through all our stuff.
The Blessing of Blessing It Forward
We blessed many things forward through donations, and our boys held a yard sale, yet, scarily, we still had enough junk to fill a dumpster. The struggle to part with some of these objects, based on a fear that my life would somehow be different without it, was, as they say, very real.
Ironically, the decision to detach became more natural with each discarded or donated item. I recycled, I reorganized, and I relied on the love of God to get me to a point where I could detach from these things. The understanding of what brings me happiness changed dramatically throughout the purging process. Finally, realizing none of these earthly treasures contains the love, grace, or comfort present in my Lord and my God.
As the dumpster pulled away, after days of reorganizing, cleaning, and decluttering, I felt lighter. I was not burdened by having to continually relocate, trip over, or sift through my piles. In the absence, I realized the very things I held onto to bring me joy, had become barriers to trusting God. In letting them go, I made room for Him in my life, in ways I never imagined.
Allison Gingras works for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization as a WINE Steward tending the Virtual Vineyard including facilitating WINE book clubs and social media. Allison authored The Gift of Invitation: 7 Ways Jesus Invites You into a Life of Grace, and a contributor to Our Friend Faustina (Marian Press). ReconciledToYou.com
One thing I cannot detach from is a piece of my 35-year-old son’s clothing. I still can still smell him….not sure how long I will be able to, but for now, I’m comforted by it. He passed away at the Mayo Clinic on 12.16.19. His Mass of the Christian Burial was on 12.20.19 at our church where he, his wife, my husband and I are parishioners and where he and his wife were married by Father Charlie a mere six years ago. Please pray for the repose of Dominic Lee Brown’s soul and for me to have the strength to live this life without him.
Oh Gwen, my deepest sympathies — and that is an attachment, YOU Never have to let go of!!! I have added Dominic to the book I keep of souls I hold in my prayers!! Please know of my prayers for you, and your family as well.
Peace and comfort to you Gwen. I can think of no greater loss than the one of losing a child, regardless of the age. My heart goes out to you
and your family. May God’s mercy and love comfort and console you. JESUS I TRUST IN YOU…you are never alone.
I will pray for you and your family on this the Feast of the Holy Family.
I’m so sorry Gwen for the loss of your son. I know this is going to be a tough road for you, his wife and the whole family. Just try to keep yourself busy and surrounded by Gifts from God. He is there for you to find strength through him. You just have to be willing to see him working. I promise he’ll help you through other people reaching out to you are just by sitting in adoration where you can feel Gods love and hear him talking to you.
Keep smelling your sons clothing as long as you need to, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
God bless you and I’m going to light a candle at home for your dear sons soul and pray for him and for God to send his powerful healing strength over all of you during this season of grieving.
Remember be willing to see his flowing gifts of healing that I know will come!
Gwen, my prayers are with you.
Allison, well written! I agree. The more you have, the more you have to keep up with. It steals your time and your joy. My spiritual director pointed out to me that I seem to be working on detachment. As you said, it starts with the way you think about things.
“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours;
do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.”
St. Ignatius of Loyola
Thank you Mary for your kind words, and the sharing of that wonderful prayer, I forget about it and appreciated the reminder!! And an opportunity to pray it!!
I’m sorry for the loss of your son Dominic. Most definitely hold on to your son’s clothing! It’s the smell and the memories of him. I still have both my parent’s hairbrush with their hair still entwined, I take it out and still smell their hair and it’s a piece of them. I pray you and your family will heal in the year 2020. God bless you all. Beautifully written Allison. I always love your post
Thank you, Janet.