Pictures, letters, cards. Notes of things that were important to a teenager. Writings. Declarations of who I was becoming.

The past twenty-two years of my life can fit into one solitary brown box. If needed, my life could fit into a mid-sized suitcase. Yes, there are some unnecessary things…I could scale down much further. But I keep them because I can, because I am not forced to do without them.
I am very sentimental. Too much for my own good. I keep things I should have gotten rid of years ago. A green Skittles bag? Well, it was a limited edition one with Princess Leia on it from the re-release of the first three Stars Wars films. Bits of papers with scribbles on them? Oh yes, those were from my dear little friends when they were first learning how to write. They are now graduating from high school. Ticket stubs? That was from when my Dad took me to see the Nutcracker Ballet. And that shoebox full of letters? Don’t you dare touch that…that is every letter from the past 11 years sent to me by my dearest Canadian girlfriend. The smaller boxes? Well, one holds dried flowers that my uncle sent me on my sixteenth birthday. The other holds all my baby teeth. Yes. Teeth.

I spent most of yesterday going through my boxes. I had, oh, five or six of them. I’m down to one. There were some things that were simply not necessary to save anymore. Some things I never want to part with. Letters and pictures that remind me of a simpler time. The calendar who’s biggest event was my friend getting her first puppy. The scrawled out note of a six-year old thanking me for teaching her the Cat’s Cradle game. The only drawing I have left from a little boy who bruised my ten-year-old heart…the one drawing that escaped my anger and did not get thrown away…the drawing that reminds me never to hold a grudge, because that little boy grew up to be one of the best men I know. There’s the cards and letters from a girl I grew up with…letters dated just a year or two before she was killed in a car accident.

Some things I did release from my grasp. Some things didn’t hold as much sentimental value as they originally did. Other things I was glad to be rid of. Little by little, letting go of things I regret, words I said that shouldn’t have been spoken, people I let in that I should have showed more caution to. Releasing their hold on me. Telling myself its okay, and that even when it hurt, I learned something. God gave me the strength to handle it, the grace to get through it, and now its time to move on and do something new.
Some things brought laughter. Most were quickly followed by tears. Some things brought anger and a feeling of defeat over remembering friendships that were, and are no more. Things I can’t fix, even though I try. Life I can’t go back to, even if I wanted.

There are things I have said and shouldn’t have. There are things I haven’t said, and should have.
But what kind of life do I have if I just sit here regretting and wishing over what was? If I focus on the bad I wish hadn’t have happened, then I miss all the beauty that did. And if I worry about the bad of the present and future, I miss all the beauty that is.

This is what life is all about. Seeing and enjoying every little bit of beauty, living with our eyes wide open, and praising God for all of it. We have nothing to live for if we do not have God. Our lives are purposeless and empty, not matter what we try to fill them up with.

God has the amazing ability to make everything beautiful. Even pain. “…My strength is made perfect in weakness…” God’s grace and love turns tears into smiles.

If this isn’t exciting, then we are doing it wrong. There is so much beauty for us to see here. Sometimes we just have to look for it. We have to stop, breathe and absorb.

There was that little boy that pulled himself up on the countertop where I work and looked right at me and said “I love you!” A little boy I’ve never seen and may never see again, but his sweet little words will touch my heart forever.

There’s the sweet sound of my boyfriend’s voice spanning an ocean, and the numbers in my calendar book that tell me he’s almost home.

There’s the friend I’ve never met, sending me a note just to tell me she’s thinking about me.

The baby of a life-long friend about to be born.

My brother telling me how much he misses me.

My mom bringing me home cashews and avocados because she knows I like them.

Finally being old enough to tease my dad without it sounding disrespectful.

The way my heart beats.

The things that make me smile.

I don’t want to miss a moment.



  1. Having recently gone through ALL of my belongings before I get ready to move and having downsized from an entire storage shed, to a mere pallet of boxes... I can relate to this perfectly.
    Well written, well said. Thank you, Hannah. :)

  2. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing - and reminding me to cherish every moment, no matter if I have a tangible thing to remember it by or simply a snapshot in my mind.



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