Over the years, I’ve come to understand that the material things we enjoy in this lifetime are never truly ours. We simply take care of them for the time that they are in our possession; our homes, our furniture and even the china that we inherit from our parents or grandparents. We are blessed to enjoy them in our lifetime, but do we cherish these things, or use them and risk possibly breaking them? I, for one, want to enjoy keepsakes and that means using them and not hiding them in a closet or cupboard. And yes, while these things are in our care, we may perhaps, leave a mark or ding. But, isn’t the pleasure of honoring our heritage worth it?
I believe the answer to that question is “yes” and it brings to mind something that my Mother once said to me and that was, “lost in time”. After years as a homeowner, or steward I should say, I now understood what she was trying to tell me. In these busy times, we often get “lost in time” and forget about how wonderful it is to find something old and long forgotten and start to use it again. These items hold the gift of memories, and even when new, we are fortunate that we can create and pass down memories to our children and sometimes even to strangers. When I’m at an estate sale, I look at an item and imagine all kinds of romantic stories about the articles I’m considering buying. If only this vase or table could talk. Imagine the stories these “things” could tell?
Although few in number, I do have some wonderful things once enjoyed by my parents that now are part of my adult life: a simple English bone china bowl that graced the table once a year on Thanksgiving day; the handmade sweater and pants that I wore when I was three; and then there’s that painting that hung proudly in the hallway. I cherish these keepsakes from my childhood and have incorporated them into my grown-up world when appropriate.
Another way to honor time past or spent in your home is to create a time capsule. The perfect time to create one is during a renovation. Simply leave a box or plastic bag in the wall between the studs and behind the sheetrock. Leave pictures, newspapers, or whatever items you want to leave for someone to find fifty years from now when you are long gone and your home is being renovated again by its new owners. I like to tell a little of the story of my life in the house and my love affair with the garden, the parties and celebrations through photos, pictures, clippings, etc. I’ve done two renovations now and each time, I’ve left a little something hidden for someone to find someday. I feel like a child keeping a secret and it makes me smile.
This is something great to do with children to help them understand the passage of time. Although times have changed and families don’t often stay in the same house, leaving a bit of your self for the next generation is giving a glimpse of the past to the future. And that future, holds a piece of your heart and soul if you let it.
And there you have it.