In recent weeks, I’ve been cleaning out the storage room and a few other areas in my childhood home. The task has been physically taxing and emotionally draining. The initial clean out happened almost ten years ago following my mother’s death, but there were some things that fell into the categories of “don’t know what to do with” or “too emotionally difficult to process” and those boxes ended up in storage.
Eight years ago, the house underwent a major renovation prior to my son moving in. This year, he and his family moved out of town, and now I am finishing the deferred purge. In the process, I have sweated buckets, cried rivers, and discovered hidden treasures.
Following are insights on hidden treasure:
Treasure is Not Always in a Shiny Package
As I worked in the hot, filthy storage room, I’ve been tempted to throw away boxes of mildew-covered ledgers and files from my father’s office without going through them. In the past ten years, I’ve been frustrated by the fact that I couldn’t find some key documentation for a family-owned land corporation and an easement related to my parents’ home.
I almost threw a whole box away, but made myself sort through ancient bank statements. In the middle of all those statements was an envelope, and inside, the information about the easement.
Later that day. I moved a box and saw a thin, brownish-green, paper ledger lying on the shelf, unprotected. Amazingly, no vermin had chewed it. When I opened it, I discovered the corporate documentation that had eluded me for ten years.
Treasure isn’t always packaged in shiny paper and tied with a bow. Treasure doesn’t always scream “I’m valuable.” Hidden treasure reveals itself over time so be on the lookout for treasure in obscure as well as obvious places, wrapped in plain, unadorned packaging.
Treasure Lurks in Unexpected Locations
My mother was famous for hiding money in unusual places in her purse. And when I say money, I mean MONEY, as in Benjamins! Mama rarely used a wallet, carrying most of her money in the payroll envelopes she used for Daddy’s real estate and construction business, and after his death, her purses were laden with plastic bags of change. When the children were young, they sometimes called her “Minnima Money Bags” because she would give them quarters from her plastic bags of change.
Mama also stashed plenty of cough drops, mints, and lipsticks in her purses so most of them were a sticky mess when I cleaned out her closet years ago. But in this round of clean out, I found a rare wallet. I looked in the change purse, removed a few pictures of my children, and then glanced in the bill compartment, which appeared empty. I pitched the wallet in a garbage bag.
As I kept working, I remembered Daddy teasing Mama about her unique money storage methods. On occasion, when they were eating out together, Daddy would discover he’d left his billfold at home. He’d look at Mama and say, “start rooting,” meaning dig for your hidden money. Mama always proclaimed she had no money with her, but then managed to discover a significant amount in the recesses of her purse.
Finally, memories and an internal nudge caused me to fish out the wallet and take another look. On further inspection, I peeled back a flap in the black-lined bill compartment and a Benjamin stared back at me.
Sometimes, treasure lurks in unexpected locations and it’s up to us to dig a little deeper and be a little more patient until we find it. As you look for hidden treasure in unlikely locations, reassess priorities, define the true meaning of what is valuable, and refresh forward motion with renewed focus.
Treasure May Only Be Precious to You
History records stories of those who have gone to great lengths to find treasure in the depths of the sea or the dank recesses of tombs. They risked their lives and exhausted their resources in search of treasure they considered of great value.
Treasure to me comes in other forms. I value simple items that remind me of my parents. The discovery of my father’s original T-square reminds me of standing by his side at his drawing board as he drew house plans. Glass star candle holders, bowls, and other glass items remind me of Mama’s flare for decorating and entertaining, whether elaborate or impromptu. A collection of Bibles underscores faith lessons, reminds me of kneeling for family prayers, and hearing my father’s voice as he thanked God for his faithfulness.
While I haven’t discovered anything of great value to others, my greatest treasure is the memories of laughter, a loving family, a heritage of faith, and God’s blessing throughout the generations.
What do you hold dear? What treasure is more precious to you than the most valuable riches?
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth where they can erode away or may be stolen. Store them in heaven where they will never lose their value and are safe from thieves. If your profits are in heaven, your heart will be there too.” Matthew 6:19-21 TLB
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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