Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

“You’re not a collector, you wouldn’t understand.”

Collection of Hearts

Remember the children’s nursery rhyme about the old woman who lived in the shoe, the one who had so many children she didn’t know what to do? What does one do if that woman instead has rooms filled with boxes and bags filled items she doesn’t use, likely doesn’t love and no longer really even recalls? At what point does one intervene? If they were indeed rooms filled with children, social services would, in short order, be on the doorstep asking questions and surely not mincing words about irresponsibility and safety concerns.

There is a woman I know who tells me she is overwhelmed by her belongings and speaks of great sadness and depression that accompanies the ownership of things.  When I told her that I felt she was weighted down by the responsibility of her things and that she no longer owned them, but they owned her – she laughed and told me that I just didn’t get it.  “You’re not a collector, you wouldn’t understand.”

Oh, sweet lady, you are right.  I do not understand. But, you see — I am a collector.  I’m a collector of hearts.  And you know what? Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the emotions I carry, weighted down by my feelings and how much I care and worry.  Yes, my bookshelves are filled with gifts and mementos given to me by hearts I care for – but, I don’t hold the items in higher esteem than the people who handed them over. Yes, my rooms have the reminders of time spent together, music shared or books I simply had to read because someone wanted me to be (literally) on the same page as them… but my collections are a mish-mash of thought patterns and beliefs.  No closets filled with shoes or collections of crystal. For safety reasons, I moved out of my tumultuous childhood home when I was a teenager and left everything behind in order to move to Southern California.  I left with a small suitcase and a handful of Polaroid photos and I thought for sure, that the books I loved (and a few other small things) would be sent to me – but I was told that what I’d left behind didn’t belong to me and were sold.


Currently, I am in the process of downsizing my home of 20+ years and a life of 50+ years as I prepare to move to a smaller space.  [Going from a boot to a slipper, I suppose.] There are tears as I box and bag my belongings, but I know that my true treasures are the stories that accompany each item and the tales I tell (and type) and my heart is full.

When my mother-in-law died nearly a decade ago, I recall the immense sorrow that her memories and stories would leaving with her.  Her worth was not in the china, folkart or jewelry she left behind when she left us (though I know her grandchildren will appreciate them), it was in the twinkle of her beautiful golden eyes and biting wit.  I miss her sharp tongue and nothing she polished, shined or dusted will ever hold the same value.

No, I guess I don’t understand and I will never see eye-to-eye with the old lady who lives among the boxes and bags of cast iron pans, wool blankets and countless collections of placemats, glasses and dishes for parties that will never be held. Collecting things has filled that sweet woman’s house with stuff that has nowhere to go, nothing to do and no value for me.  There is nothing that she owns that will ever equal the value of her existence. My wish is that she will wake up one morning and send all of it out into the world, so that the couches, chairs and corners of her home could be filled with people and the gifts they’ll bring with them.  Gifts that cannot be put into boxes and bags: their smiles, stories, laughter and happy tears of memories shared.

They say you can’t take it with you when you go, but when I close my eyes I most certainly will take my most precious collections with me and I am okay with that.  If you’re the same kind of collector, I know you’ll understand.

xo – t.

It is perhaps a more fortunate destiny to have a taste for collecting shells than to be born a millionaire.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

You aren’t wealthy until you have something money can’t buy.” – Garth Brooks

An encyclopedia is a system for collecting dust in alphabetical order.” – Mike Barfield

Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.” – Annie Dillard


[BTW – I often write late at night, so please forgive any typos. My heart is in the right place, but my fingers… not always.]