I grew up in the 50’s/60’s with practical parents. A mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she used it, then reused it. A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones. They were the original recycle queen and king, before they had a name for it.
Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, work shirt and a hat (always a hat), and Mom in a house dress, broom in one hand and dish-towel over her shoulder. It was the time for fixing things—the kitchen radio, toaster, television set, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress, the knees it in my trousers, socks with holes in the toes….. things that we kept seemingly forever.
It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that fixing, re-using, repairing, renewing; I just once wanted to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there would always be more.
But when my mother died in the comfort of her bedroom at home while I was holding her hand, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn’t any more. Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away…..never to return.
So…..while we have it, it is best that we love it and care for it. And fix it when it’s broken and heal it when it’s sick.
This is true for marriages with rough spots, spouses with annoying habits, children with bad report cards, friends who never return your calls, dogs and cats that use the living room carpet as a litter box, and aging parents and even older grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we just keep.
There are some things that just make life important, like people we know who are special. And so, we keep them close!
We keep our patients close. In our eyes and hearts, you are a keeper.