We have this little bin in the house. It is our version of the junk drawer. Whenever we need a little bit of this or that, we can find it in our bin. As all junk drawers, there really is junk in it. We hate to admit it, but there is stuff in there we will never use again for the rest of our lives. But it is sitting right next to that other stuff that we dig out once in a while and so we think, maybe we should leave that in there too. Ah, the junk drawer!
One day it all changed for me. We were looking for something in the house, one of those small, forgettable things that you don’t think of much at all until the sudden crisis around you has reached critical mass and you exclaim: where is the super glue? I really can’t remember what exactly we were looking for, but I remember Michael’s question. “Have you checked the family history box?”
What most people call a “junk drawer,” and in our case a “junk bin,” Michael had renamed to the family history box. He saw it for more than the odds and ends and weird things that didn’t relate to anything else in the bin. He saw it as evidences of what we have gone through as a family. Old cell phone chargers (back when we had prepaid phones) that we really don’t need anymore, but haven’t quite gotten around to getting them out of the house are next to glue sticks and two staplers, because we lost the first one and had to buy the second and then we found the first one again. As you can imagine, a nice little junk bin can carry quite a bit of interesting family history in it.
Michael taught me a lesson that day. Even in the “junk drawers” of our lives, there is history there. There is evidence there of what we’ve been through, how we’ve grown and what we still cling to for important reminders of what we’ve left behind. There is only one problem: now that we call it the family history box, it is even more difficult to get rid of old stuff we are never going to use again!