Tuesday, March 10, 2015

What Fits in Your Closet?

A couple of years ago, I went to visit my elderly parents. My stepmother was in a panic because she had lost an envelope full of money, about $7,000, she said. My dad described the envelope--manila, about 8x10 inches. While my stepmother, dad, and sister went to a doctor's appointment, I was given the charge to find the envelope and money.

In dresser drawers, I found several--maybe more than a hundred--small white envelopes stuffed full of dollar bills. I collected a pile of them--arm fulls of them. But I didn't find the manila envelope. After about an hour, I laid down on the floor, looked at the ceiling, and wondered if my dad had been mistaken. Then I glanced at the closet and the stacks of sweaters piled on the floor. I found the envelope beneath the sweaters, and sure enough, it had about $7000 inside.

But the little white envelopes I had collected had more than $30,000. I gave the envelope with $7000 back to my stepmother, which made her very happy, but my brother and dad took the $30,000 to the bank.

It's been almost three years since that day. My stepmother died recently. Her funeral was last weekend. My step-siblings spent days carefully going through her things, afraid to toss anything, because we never knew what canister, box, or bag might contain something of value. We found old film canisters full of quarters--peanut cans full of bills.

Someone once told me that a life is like a closet, and when a life is full something needs to be removed before something new can be collected and added to the mix. I think this is true. Funerals are good reminders that our days are numbered. While only a few have thousands hidden away, we all have the same amount of time each day. In the allotment of hours in the day, we're all equal, and we get to decide what fits into our days and what does not.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. They must not have trusted banks! Great analogy with life, though.