I have an old quilt that I bought years ago at the Oakland Museum’s White Elephant sale. In 1907, Ma Lutz, aged 77, made this beautiful quilt that now hangs on the wall of our living room. I know this is so, because that’s what she stitched into the fabric. Cool, huh?
People have frequently told me I should take it down, it’s going to fade. What? I should keep it in the closet? Will it fade so that I can’t see it at all? Because if it’s in the closet, I’m sure I can’t see it at all. Yes, it will fade over the years but I will have enjoyed having it to look at every day.
When my sweet Grandma Ruth died, I was asked if there was anything of hers that I would like. I took some dishes and some bed sheets. I was chided for letting the kids use these dishes. But, my kids grew up loving the pattern on those dishes just as much as I did. They slept between the sheets I remembered from overnights at Grandma’s. Over the years the sheets have gotten worn and torn and the dishes are all broken, but one. Do I wish they were still here? Sure. Am I sorry we used them? Not even a tiny bit.
Is there a Smiley Lady metaphor there? Sure. Putting things away because they are too precious to use makes them have no value, if value is measured by enjoyment. It’s like thinking something is too good, has to be saved for a special event. When the special day comes, will it even be remembered? What if the special day never comes? Or when it comes, will the life you’ve lived has changed your desire for the object?
Here’s spilling wine on your favorite blouse, leaving your best ever umbrella on the bus, using stemware for chocolate milk and enjoying the gifts from our past as we live in the now.
Smile. Be Happy.
*Don’t know the totally great word pshaw, ask an old person. I’ve said it before: those old people are very handy (and they have a lot of cool words we shouldn’t let die out).