The photo shows artifacts of my life. The shards of pottery and glass are from the farm where I grew up. There’s not a building remaining on the farmstead. I walked the field, the location of the farmstead, a couple of summers ago and found these objects, archeological objects from my own past.
Diann and I are cleaning out our house, getting ready for a move later this year. We’re discarding a lot of stuff, including manuscripts I’ve written over the years that have been rejected by publishers. The work I poured into it! But I feel I’ve grown as a writer and no longer think it’s worth keeping. Certainly the writing of it helped me sharpen my skills as a writer.
The hundreds of color transparencies I’m discarding are not good enough to spend the time and effort to scan into digital images. I’ll keep some, but not these. I can always take another picture of a sunrise or sunset.
One definition of an artifact is that it’s an object that’s been made for some intended use. The shards of glass and pottery, sheets of manuscripts, and slides of images were created for a purpose, but they have served their purposes. I am moving on. Feelings of nostalgia over what was and sadness over what I dreamed might have been have to be acknowledged, but then put in their proper place. I am moving on.
An object, any object, we can make, buy, sell, use or lose is just an object and should not be the object of our living. The computer I carefully unpacked and set up ten years ago has either been tossed or is still being stored above the garage (I’m not sure which). Each of the crushed cars we see stacked on a truck bed heading to the recycling facility was once proudly and carefully driven off a new car lot by its owner. Whether it’s a discarded coffee filter in the trash or a discarded car after a crash, we leave it behind and move on.
Hopefully, we learn a lesson along the way – that objects, things, artifacts, are to be wisely used but that they are not ends in themselves. They don’t define who we are or our value.
We too have been created for a purpose, but it’s in an entirely different category from the objects with which we surround our lives. God has made us for Himself and for His great and grand purposes. There is no built-in obsolescence with us, no shelf life, for God has a plan for us to enjoy Him forever and to serve Him throughout eternity. God intends that the objects in this life are to be temporarily enjoyed and used while we are to be of eternal enjoyment and use to Him. It’s a good thought to hold on to, when we come across the artifacts of our lives.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)