Mementoes

I heard this song by Hem a couple of weeks back, and it’s stuck with me.

(Note: no, I did not first hear it on the Liberty Mutual ad.  And as nice as it is to think that big insurance companies are into random acts of kindness and the ‘pay it forward’ attitude, I admit that I’m skeptical.  Thank you for allowing me to vent.)

Anyhow, the first line begins: 

I am holding half an acre

…and trails off for a few moments.  (She’s holding half an acre?  How is this possible?!)

But then the next line:

…torn from the map of Michigan.

Ahh, okay.  Nice use of suspense.  But, really, so what?  The answer comes in the third line:

…folded in this scrap of paper is the land that I grew in.

No ordinary scrap of paper, indeed.  She goes on to sing about wayfarers, sadness, comings and goings.  But despite all of this, touching this tiny fragment of paper has the power to “crack the darkest sky wide open”; it takes away her burdens, “unfolds” her heart, and brings her, in short, to the comfort of the final image in the song: “my home”.

A half-acre, home and healing, all in a scrap of paper.  Now, I don’t encourage anyone to be a packrat.  But don’t be so quick to throw out that old box of mementos without a discerning eye – and heart.  St. Thomas Aquinas reasoned that God is, in a qualified way, “in all things, and innermostly”.

Yep, all things.

And I’ll go ahead and claim that certain things can even pack an added power that others lack.  So if your high school graduation tassel, or that worn paperback that your granddad gave you years back, or the tiny bag of sand from the beach where you grew up serve to remind you of who you are at your best moments, keep it around.

There might just be a happy helping of the divine in there, waiting to be discovered.  Or already long at work.

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