I went to the ministry leaders Christmas party on Saturday night. It is one that I always enjoy. Dinner was nice, fellowship is fun and I just have a good time at this one. But like with all church functions, if someone doesn’t open a bible and speak on a subject we all feel like we are sinning, not really, but you get the point. So Sam spoke from a verse in Ephesians that emphasized that we are the household of God. Looking around the room, the thought became very real to me. These are the people that I will be spending eternity with. It was an enormous thought for me, even though I already knew it.
Then last night I was digging through some things that I am packing or giving/throwing away. I found Mollie’s Ms. Madeline dress and some pictures. The thought hit me that my daughter doesn’t care about the Ms. Madeline dress. She has no clue as to why it is special. Ms. Madeline was a person who was central in my spiritual growth as a child. She would drive the neighborhood on Thursday afternoons and gather all the little girls to take us to the Plymouth Brethren church for Pioneer Girls. She followed us through high school and college and when we started having children of our own she made beautiful dresses for our children to be dedicated in. So the dress has meaning to me, but Mollie never really knew Ms. Madeline. We moved to Woodstock when Mollie was two years old and only saw her sporadically for the next few years. The isolation that she grew up in from my family and my ex-husband’s family has left her the most unsentimental of all people.
Then I looked through the pictures and it dawned on me that Mollie is right. The pictures were all of my ex and his family. And even though I was close to them for 22 years while I was married, after the divorce, I’ve only had sporadic communication with them. Mollie grew up without them. As far as my family, her cousins like her brothers are so much older than she is, they weren’t around for her to get to know. By the time she could remember them, they were away at college. The only cousin anywhere near her age lives across the country in Seattle. Both girls have grown up without close family ties. The pictures mean little to me. They mean nothing to Mollie. So why am I keeping them. What purpose does it serve? My real family seems to be my church. I’m closer to my co-workers than I am to my family. At least I know the names of their children. I thought all of this sentimentality means nothing. No one is going to care after I’m gone, and I really don’t care that much now. And I threw the pictures away. I kept the dress.
With these two divergent and very powerful thoughts from the weekend, where I feel very invested in one group and very divorced from the other, I was listening to NPR this morning. The topic on All Things Considered was a discussion of Ebeneser Scrooge. They pointed out that the problem with his heart was a lack of sentimentality. So does this mean that Mollie and I are doomed to grow into cranky misers?