I thought about my parents a lot these past two weeks. They were both born in Nova Scotia in the mid 1920s. My father grew up in an orphanage in Halifax and my mom on a farm on Cape Breton Island. Both of them were old enough to understand the Great Depression because back in those days, kids got older faster. It was an event that changed them, just like it changed a lot people from their era.
After my father passed away last year, and we were cleaning out their house, I found so many signs of their world view. There were containers of string, containers of pencils, some only 4 inches long, every last screw and nail that had been used before had been painstakingly straightened and carefully stored away. And rags! Every article of clothing, bedding, towels… anything they had ever owned that was made of fabric I think had been cut up into rags to be repurposed for other things.
I guess one of the reasons I thought about them this week was because I found that my view of the world was quite different from the young kids who have been generously helping me with the big cleanout these past two weeks.
I would find a piece of leather or wood and immediately I could imagine that my dad would have found a use for it. The same if I found an article of clothing. I would hold it for moment knowing that my mom would have easily repaired the small tear.
The kids were very kind and if they judged my hesitation, they didn’t show it. I got a little better at it as time went on and found myself making the decision to throw it in the garbage bag got a little easier all the time.
But it’s been a while since I found myself looking up wistfully at heaven. I almost wanted to apologize but I was given strength by the fact that I knew they always wanted what was best for me. And for me, knowing where everything is and not having so much stuff unaccounted for in the barn will be make things so much better.
I think for my next chore I might get rid of all the nails I’ve been straightening….