I think a lot about what turns stuff into treasure.
It seems rarely to be the thing itself that is valuable.
Rather it is the dreams we tie on to our stuff.
Through our stuff we hope to find fun, community, identity, position and power, self-reliance, and respect. We dream of using it to save the day for someone who will love us, solve the world’s problems, and make our own work easier. Through these beautiful dreams, value rubs into our things.
In our home in California, stored away in wardrobe boxes, stuffed into closets, crammed onto auxiliary racks, and packed into plastic bags were four decades worth of my husband’s first wife’s clothes. They spanned a continuum of sizes and some of the newest pieces still had their tags..
She was a tasteful dresser: a little formal with an eye for conservative professionalism appropriate to her vision of herself as a teacher. From the sizes and colors I immediately could tell she had been darker complected, and taller than I.
No woman can fail to understand how that collection had been amassed or the forces that led her to keep all of it. For one thing the initial investment had been substantial.
My husband kept it all intact partly because the sheer volume overwhelmed him. But more than that, he sensed the value the collection had held for his departed wife. He had an idea that his next wife, (and he knew he wanted to marry again), might benefit from, or even delight in this treasure trove.
Well. Here I was.
With one eye I saw an overwhelming jumble of another woman’s stuff. But through a more important eye I saw my husband’s openhearted desire to share with me a glittering horde.
He easily came to understand that I couldn’t use any of it. So together we released all of it to go and become a blessing to people who need it.