What Matters the Most

March 30, 2016

“Isn’t it better to know what would have meaning to someone, rather than not know?” 

The question was voiced as my family boisterously chatted in the kitchen before Easter dinner. 

My culinary-inclined brother-in-law Kyle was in the midst of making something delicious, assisted by my parents. I had the lazy job – bringing a dessert, which I had Tim pick out at Byerly’s so I didn’t even have to make anything – and sat lounging on a high stool on the periphery of the kitchen, watching Ashlyn try to crawl along behind her big cousins as the children played and worked on bead projects.

Kyle had just asked my Mom for a bowl, and she’d pulled out her largest one. A large, light-colored, heavy-duty bowl, with think pink and blue stripes on it.

“I want that when you die,” Kendra said, half-seriously, as we all laughed. 

“Uh, nice!” someone said. 

“What?!” she defended. “Isn’t it better to know what would have meaning to someone, rather than not know?” 

 “I remember that bowl,” I chime in, nodding in agreement. “That’s the chocolate chip cookie bowl.”

In my mind, I remember all those years ago, standing at the counter, rolling dough in between my small hands to make balls that would turn into delicious piles of mismatched cookies, stacked and cooling on the counter. Never mind the 1980s look of the bowl, it’s full of love and memories, something that has nostalgic value for us. 

But later, once we’re home again, the question returns to me. Isn’t it better to know what would have meaning to someone, rather than not know? 

Some of my most cherished items have very little to no monetary value. My sister Katrina’s handwritten recipe for “Fanciful Fruit Pizza.” A pretty blue candy dish from my Grandma Jo that reminds me of the bowl of candy in her kitchen. Sonogram photos of my children. My not-quite-finished wedding scrapbook. 

My garage and office are full of things that at some point in time I wanted or – heaven forbid – thought I needed. I'm embarrassed to say that I  have kitchen implements that have never been taken out of the box. More Christmas ornaments than we could possibly put on our tree. And in-case-of-emergency, end-of-the-world boxes of astronaut-style food we will probably never use. 

I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting a bowl from my mom, or dishes from my grandma. But the value is in in the people, the memories. The love.

It's a good reminder for me, in the midst of this materialistic world. How easy it is to get caught up in all the stuff. And yet I think -- Someday, what items will my children want, not because they are expensive, but because we made memories with them? Am I instilling the same legacy of love my parents did in me? It might just be time to make some from-scratch cookies with my girls.

“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” Matthew 6:27-33

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