This morning I am in Missouri Valley, Iowa. If perchance you look at a map, you'll have difficulty finding it. I will meet my brother in Fort Dodge, Iowa around noon when we will begin the difficult task of going through what remains of our Uncle Wendell's life.
Several years ago singer/writer Cheryl Wheeler wrote a song, "Estate Sale" where the line "goin' through dead people's houses, seein' all they have collected" is poignant for me at this moment. My uncle was a collector. From Louis Lamour cowboy novels to paper thin crystal goblets Wendell was a man of opposites and he found it difficult to throw away anything although he did give away sets of china dishes to women he thought needed them, myself included.
None of this, of course, was he able to take with him. When he went to meet Jesus, face to face, he stood by himself without the accoutrements of his life. Ultimately, the stuff he had purchased didn't define who he was inside, although it may give some indication as to how Wendell felt. His Father, however, was only interested in who He had created and what Wendell had done with the 82 years he had been given.
This experience of cleaning, disposing and packing up what remains from my dear uncle's life will be difficult because I, too, am a collector. And it's true, you don't take it with you.
So, no doubt I will be asking myself this week, "What will Jesus say when you stand before him without all the stuff you have thought so important through the years?"