I have a sentimental streak. As I look around my house, I see things I have kept for sentimental reasons. I even carry a few with me on a daily basis. Allow me to tell you about some of them.
I carry one of my grandfather’s dog-tags on my keychain. He served in the Army in the Pacific Theater in WWII and then as part of the occupation forces in Korea. His dog-tag is a reminder of him and of his military service, involuntary as it was.
I also carry my dad’s lighter. It’s a Zippo imitation with “Company A, 9th Aviation Jayhawks” engraved on the front. He served in the Army during the Vietnam conflict as a
radio telephone operator Commo Sergeant. More Army heritage, again involuntarily. He gave me the lighter when I broke with family tradition and volunteered to be commissioned as a chaplain.
On my desk at home, I have a small sterling silver chalice. A matching one is in a cabinet in the dining room. They were used by my parents to drink their first toast after their wedding. I use them now when I celebrate the Eucharist in small group settings. I’m not sure I can think of a richer symbolism, considering Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding in Cana and remembering all the times Jesus compared the fulfillment of the Kingdom to a wedding feast.
I also have two crystal candlesticks that were my grandmother’s sitting on my desk. I remember them being around as long as I noticed such things. I received them when she and Grandpa moved into a nursing home.
Ticking across the room is a mantle clock that belonged to my grandparents as well. Even from the time I was fairly young, I have thought of this as my grandfather’s clock. When we played the piece by the same name in concert band in 7th grade, this was the clock I pictured. It sat on my grandparent’s dresser and chimed faithful on the hour and the half hour. Apparently they were sound sleepers.
There are others mementos throughout the house and in my office at work. Tools handed down by Grandpa and Dad. Pictures of both of them in uniform. A few pieces of furniture.
Sometimes I sit and wonder what my children and grandchildren will choose to hang onto of mine. When it is time to distribute my worldly possessions someday, what will they chose to discard and what will they choose to keep? What significance will it hold for them?
I hope there will be something. Not because I am so attached to my stuff that I want it to have a good home when I’m gone, but because I hope there are good memories that my descendants want to remember and that maybe some object of mine might represent that for them.
Maybe it’s just a feeble hope against the fleetingness of this life. A desire to be remembered. An homage to those who have impacted my life. A hope of preserving their memory as well as my own.