By: Pastor Mary Beth Hartenstein
Oh my! Oh my! Oh my! I cannot believe how much stuff has been brought in for the garage sale, which will take place beginning tomorrow. There have been numerous volunteers, at least sixteen according to my count, who have been very busy getting the room ready, and then sorting, stacking, arranging, and pricing items since early Monday morning. Even as I write this, there is a flurry of activity in the Fellowship Hall.
There are books of all types of genres, movies and video games. There are all sorts of knick-knacks, craft items, and framed pictures. There is tableware and glassware and silverware. There is bedding and clothing and shoes. There are tables and chairs and beds too. There is a bowling bag and golf clubs. We may not have the kitchen sink for sale, but we have a bathroom one sitting in the hallway.
In case you have not guessed it by now … there’s a lot of stuff here for our annual garage sale! As I have walked around several times taking a peek at all of it, I have asked a number of times aloud – “How does one congregation collect so much stuff?”
I can only speak for myself when I say that “I like my stuff!” It is often that I have worked hard to get it, having saved or sacrificed in order to make the purchase. Sometimes I like my stuff because it has some sentimental value to it; it is hard to give away something that Aunt Gladys gave to you for a wedding present even if you have not used it in thirty years. And sometimes, I like my stuff because if I give it away I may then wish I had not. Letting go of stuff is not always easy.
If we move from the stuff of garage sales to the stuff of our lives, it can be just as hard letting it go. We get attached to the stuff we hold onto: our sadness, our grief, our anger, our hurt, our disappointment. We may have held that grudge for a lot of years. We may have been steeped in hurt so long we cannot even remember what it was over. So if we choose to get rid of these things what becomes of us?
Here is where the Good News comes into our lives – by letting go of the old stuff, we can get new stuff! We just might find a treasure. Just like those who will come to our garage sale over the next few days and find new stuff that might be even better than the stuff they already had, when we are willing and able to let go of our old stuff when can get even better stuff: hope, joy, peace, grace, love. But we must be willing to let go.
Perhaps Fredrick Buechner, American author and theologian said it best, “We find by losing. We hold fast by letting go. We become something new by ceasing to be something old. This seems to be close to the heart of that mystery.”
Treasures to be found at the garage sale and in our lives. Happy Hunting!