Letting Go

If the good Lord wills, a little down the road Kim and I plan to retire and leave the house in which we raised our kids and have lived in for over 25 years. With three kids gone, our plan is to downsize. We definitely don’t need a house the size we have now. So, a few months back I started getting rid of stuff in the house. I see no point in taking items that I don’t want, use, or need anymore, box them up, and take them to another house where they will continue to sit and collect dust. I find letting go of stuff both satisfying and, at times, difficult. 

I thought I would start the process at the easi-est place possible. What would that be for guys? Clothes, of course! LOL! How I ended up with five pairs of sweatpants I’ll never know. I gave away old ties, polo shirts, dress pants, and four sweatpants! I accumulated around 25 hats. If I’m wearing a hat there is a 95% chance it’s a Reds hat and the other 5% of the time it’s likely to be a Bearcats or Buckeyes hat. Away with those clothes! It was time to let go. 

I then moved to the garage. This was pretty easy until I got to a big container of items that primarily belonged to our son Lucas. In this container was his baseball batting helmet, many aluminum bats, gloves, and balls. He did-n’t want any of them. Admittedly, it was a little hard to see these things go. I’ve often said there isn’t enough money in the world for me to be given to go back to those days and that is true. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t cherish those times because I certainly do. But it was time to let go. 

As the weather turned colder, I moved to the basement. I set my sights on my CDs. Over the years I accumulated around 350 (that’s not a typo) rock-n-roll, rock, pop, and a few country CDs of music from the 1950s through the early 2000s. I accumulated these by signing up my-self and others seemingly countless times for the Columbia House Record Club (remember that?). My family knew how much I loved my music and thus many Christmas and birthday presents were CDs over the years. I remember hanging out with friends in high school and col-lege and getting pumped that in a few days a new album (CD) would be out by one of our favorite bands. One of us would try to get there on the first day of its sale at a record store and buy it. We would then get together as soon as possible, put that CD in a boom box, and crank it. Good memories and great times. But now, I hardly play them any-more. My Spotify does all that for me and I take it with me on my phone wherever I go. Best Buy doesn’t even sell CDs anymore and unless you have an old car like me, you don’t have a car CD player. It was time to let them go. 

I have now just started on one of the more difficult things for me from which to let go of - many (but not all) of my beloved baseball cards. Many sit in plastic protective binders year after year. Many of my full sets are not worth much. In the 1980s the card market was saturated by many companies producing cards. You went from having one Roger Clemens rookie card being produced, to six or seven thus driving down the value of cards from which they have never really bounced back. I rode my bike countless times to local drug stores buying packs of cards. Over the course of several years my parents bought me a set of cards for Christmas. I played with them and traded them. If the Lord wills, our son Lucas will inherit whatever sports memorabilia I have after I’m gone. There are thousands of cards of players that did-n’t play for the Reds and/or will never make it to Cooperstown and thus he would never care about those cards. I see no reason to burden him with getting rid of them after I’m gone and so it’s time to let many of them go. 

There is nothing wrong with collecting items, but we shouldn’t cling to them. We should cling to the Lord. In Psalm 119:31, the Psalmist pro-claims, “I cling to your testimonies, O LORD.” Let that be said of us. 

I advise against leaving your children with a ton of stuff they don’t want and burdening them with letting go of it. What we definitely want to leave behind for our children and grandchildren is a memory of a strong, faithful Christian. Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5, “For I am mind-ful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” That’s what we want to leave behind! 

It’s important to remember that one day our things will not be owned by anyone because they will cease to exist. One glorious day, Jesus will re-turn, and God will burn up everything on this earth and the things that we sometimes treasure will be no more. Peter teaches us in 2 Peter 3:10-13 – “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will dis-appear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be de-stroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his prom-ise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” 

I hope letting go of earthly things is as painless of an experience for you as possible. If you never let go of a few of them so be it. Just please don’t ever let go of Jesus. -