When my ex-husband and I separated in 2012, one of the worse things to happen to me was I was unable to get Chef to give me most of my personal belongings. Along with jewelry, furniture, and clothing, which he either gave to his then-girlfriend, destroyed, or simply hid from me, were a lot of my mother’s things. He was severely addicted to drugs, and in his state, irrational and vindictive.
For quite a long time, I had a hard time forgiving him for that part of our break-up. I had never considered myself materialistic at all, but I had to re-evaluate when I found myself wrathful over my mother’s hope chest, my great-grandmother’s apple dishes, and so many of my family’s pictures. When it became clear to me I wasn’t going to get any of these things back, I had no choice but to let it all go. Over time, I had to deal with quite a bit of guilt for losing things that didn’t belong exclusively to me, but to my brothers and sisters as well. It sucked, but I eventually came to terms with it.
Then, about a month or so ago, Chef contacted me out of the blue. He and his newest girlfriend had broken up, and he was moving back to Tulsa. Long story short, he found a house fairly close to mine, and moved into it. In the almost 3 years of separation, this was the very first time Chef wasn’t living with a woman.
Chef had told me years ago that he had lost all of our things when he couldn’t pay for a storage unit. When he told me that, I remember actually feeling sick to my stomach. Everything was gone, now in the hands of strangers who would never know any of the stories behind each precious item.
When Chef was moving into his new house, and in an effort to extend an olive branch, he told me that he had not lost everything in a storage unit. He had been carting around a lot of the things I had been grieving for. For 3 years, he had carried my mother’s things, most of the apple dishes, and a ton of pictures that were of my side of the family. He showed me the neatly packed, marked boxes of things that belonged to me, and to tell you the truth, I was both pissed off and relieved at once. I didn’t grab them and run, as one would assume I would have. When he showed them to me, him thinking I’d be ecstatic and grateful, I was so angry, I turned around and walked out of his house and drove home, without saying one word to him. How could he do that to me for so long?
For a week, he badgered me to come get my things out of his house. I don’t know why I didn’t just do it immediately. I guess I felt like dealing with getting some of it back might reopen a wound it took me a really long time to heal from. Having just a little of my things returned to me might remind me of the lion’s share of stuff I would never recover again. But finally, I bit the bullet, grabbed the hope chest and my six boxes, all that was left of 20 years of my life.
The day after I took my things, Chef’s house was robbed, and the vandals wrecked almost everything he owned. Had I left my things one more day, my stuff would have been ruined as well. Crazy!!
The stuff has been sitting in boxes in my room for a couple of weeks now. I haven’t felt in the mood to deal with my past with so many other things going on; but this morning, I grabbed the first box, and began to take inventory of what I had been given back.
Wouldn’t you know it? I found so much joy in the small things I feel the Lord had given back to me, and no sorrow whatsoever about the stuff that is gone forever. In fact, the memories of what all the stuff was, and why I had been sad to lose it, has faded so much, I simply don’t miss most of it anymore — I don’t even remember what most of it was.
I’m putting a bunch of my mother’s pictures on here, Facebook, and in the cloud, lest I ever find myself in the position again of not having access to them.
Thank you, Lord, for giving us back so much!