You could not imagine the amount of "things" I have collected over the years.
Having been an accountant I had the multitude of boxes of records and files that I just had to keep. These were quickly sorted and put in a safe place, and then I moved on.
Next, being a preacher, I sorted through thirty-plus years of archived sermons. A difficult task for any preacher...I wanted to read through each one, which only took away valuable time. There was a lot of GOOD stuff there, but some that surprised me. Some was prophetic and some was...well I'll just leave it at that.
Then, the computer paraphernalia of cords and connectors for both PC and Mac. Most exciting, I found that I possess some equipment that has grown in value because of the generation of the computers. In the world of computers, these are antiques...one of which I have seen on display at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. I forget they were there.
Books, books, books. On a number of subjects, mostly dealing with my studies for sermons and for college. I even found copies of an old murder investigation I had once helped investigate. Wow! That brought back a lot of memories.
Now, you might ask what all of this has to do with anything...good question.
I realized that my mind is located in the upper part of my earthly body, and as I was sitting in the den after a shower and change of clothes, I wondered if perhaps its time for a little trip that my own attic...stay with me.
I would NOT have been in the attic of the house today if my wife had not insisted. Going to the attic of my own mind is trip through a lifetime of experiences. I would really rather leave a lot of that alone.
Some things in the attic of my mind have been neatly compartmentalized, just like the accounting files. I am one of those people who believes we are the sum total (an accounting phrase) of our life experience. Who I am today has been shaped by over 58 years of life. There have been some debits and some credits (again, accounting phrase) or, in other words, some positive experiences and some that were negative. Just like entering transactions in a journal, (accounting again) where I have been and what I have done have brought everything to a trial balance (you guessed it) showing where I am before a full account of my life will be summed up at the end of it. If I could, there are a lot of things I would have done differently.
I realized that just like the antique equipment, I have grown in many ways to the point that my contribution to this world has increased life's value...but there are some things that are probably outdated and of no value...needing to be discarded.
Now, the sermons. A few-years-ago I had made the conscious decision to scan old sermons into the computer to create a database of my sermons. Before you judge me as having a big ego, let me explain that I have found if a valuable thing to do, as it helps me to see if my sermons have been isolated to a hobby horses, or have I "declared the whole council of God?" In other words, have I had a balanced ministry? Thinking about my children and grandchildren, I would like for them to see what my thought process was and what motivated me to action...or in other words leave something of a written legacy for them. Hoping that they would see in my writings a deep love for God and for my fellow man.
In my years as a pastor the sermon list was pretty short, but the fifteen years of pastoral ministry showed a consistent approach to preaching and teaching the word of God. Sermon series were in abundance for those years and now, the tenor of my preaching/teaching is sometimes event centered and hopefully inspirational.
In this "attic" of my mind there is still a lot of things that could be discarded, but there are a multitude of good memories. The folders filled with the little notes and drawings I received from children during the pastoral years are just one example.
The books show my reading habits were fairly broad, covering a lot of subjects...hopefully, my life and ministry demonstrates that some of the good has taken root. As I looked through the boxes of books published by my own church publishing house I realized how great my heritage is...and to be honest, how odd some of it seems in today's modern world.
I found unpublished manuscripts and a whole lot of theological position papers that have shown an evolution of thought. As I thought about all of this, I realize how far I have moved on some things. Just like the books, I have some deep theological beliefs rooted in long-ago proven doctrinal truth, and there are still some thoughts and opinions that others would certainly consider to be a bit odd.
Finally, the job upstairs is not finished...not at the house or in my mind. I am still sorting and cleaning out long forgotten opinions and holding on to the valuable gems uncovered. While tired from the physical labor, I am refreshed by the exercise...and looking forward to what lies ahead.