Thinkin’ today about Souvenirs.   As a kid in the LATE 50’s,  I had a charm bracelet and collected a charm everywhere we vacationed.  Later I collected little figurines and finally ticket stubs, brochures and all manner of memorabilia.  Recently, I have collected artwork from my travels,  usually bought from a street vendor.    My seven year old granddaughter has already jumped on the souvenir band wagon asking for a “souvenir”   of every trip we take, big or small.   All the  tourist spots  cater to that need for a souvenir.  Every parent cringes at the sight of the kiosk with inflatable everyone and flashing everything imaginable.  A Souvenir.  A memory.

Souvenirs keep us from forgetting the path we’ve traveled.  They remind us of where we’ve been.  When my Mom passed away,  I found a box of those figurines and paper souvenirs in her attic.  We had held onto those too long.

So today,  I’m thinkin’ about the intangible souvenirs I’ve held onto over the years.   I am glad I’ve held onto the “souvenir” of salvation collected at age 9.  An Uncle I hardly remember who died when I was 11 took me to Kids Kamp,  over my mother’s objections.  It was there I  acquired the “souvenir”  of salvation and a love of camp that transcended my aging. ( I went to camp last summer for the 16th year in a row! )

I kept the “souvenir”  of song that my Mom gave me early on but grew with choirs, ensembles, and solos.  I sang my first solo with a youth choir on “tour” in Duncan, Oklahoma. It was the first of hundreds I would sing throughout my life in dozens and dozens of places.

I’ve been blessed with many “souvenirs” of friendship.   As I type this, a picture of a friend I met  when I was six smiles down on me from the bulletin board,  we are still in touch.  She is my oldest friend but many came after her,  like the one in the other picture on the board who came into my life in the early 80’s.  Then there is the group picture taken the night of my Oklahoma going away party,  eleven faces from the mid 80’s till now.  All of them were a special gift to me during those motherhood years.  And those women from Evangel College/University,  the Wonder Women of W2S,  my vintage sisters,  what souvenirs they’ve turned out to be! 

I’ve collected a lot of souvenirs during my lifetime and  I  made room for many of them even during the downsize.  However,  it also occurs to me that it’s time to throw some of them out.

Rejections, hurts, betrayals, sorrows, loss, and  bitterness  are souvenirs I collected against my will but collected none the less.  Like the box in my mom’s attic, I’ve hung on to those too long.  They are yellowed, brittle, memories that I no longer have room for in my spirit.

I want to keep and continue to collect the souvenirs of  joy, laughter,  love and  friends.  I have room for those in my spirit and on my shelves! 

What about you?  What souvenirs are cluttering up your spirit?  Take inventory,  I am betting that you have some you should get rid of too.

Thinkin’ about souvenirs today.