That Relentless Deterioration

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Liz, on Flickr

April 22, 2016

This is not a cheerful subject

Who really wants to think about:

  • Decay
  • Degeneration
  • Decline
  • Degradation
  • Depreciation
  • Devaluation
  • Disintegration
  • Dislocation
  • Downturn
  • Debasement
  • Declension
  • Decomposition
  • Dilapidation
  • Disrepair
  • Downfall
  • Downgrade
  • Decay
  • Degringolade

And finally (to break this chain of “D” words):

  • Retrogression, Rot, and Ruin?

(I guess the thesaurus is good for something after all.)


John Hilliard on Flickr

In the previous post I asked you to ponder the things you consider important and of premier value in your world. How and why did they get to the top of the list? Should they still be there?

Today’s question: what will you do now?

Spending over a week with my two brothers-in-law and a couple of nephews sorting and tossing remnants of my father-in-law’s 10-acre world (see photos below) brought the reality of deterioration rudely the center of attention.

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  • A once shiny red and white Chevy pickup succumbing slowly to blight and mold (but a niece by marriage is highly interested in it anyway)
  • Heavy, once expensive nail guns – several of them –  weighing down a dusty disused workbench
  • A John Deere mower deck 80% buried under overgrowth and tree roots
  • A barn and workshop incrementally reducing to rot
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From a Distance, OK. Close-Up, Falling Apart

  • Formerly fine travel bags morphing from fabric to dusty powder
  • Expensive books made nearly untouchable (without hospital gloves) by rodent teeth and black mold
  • A wicker chair separating into long, twisty, unconnected strands
  • A freezer in the garage, unopened for years, that had to thaw 6 days before the door could be violently pried open. (Freezer went to where dead freezers go)
  • An antique furniture piece or three, broken enough to be barely worth the effort to heave into the small dump truck, destined for landfill ignominy
  • A roll of visqueen shatterimg into delicate rainbow-hued shards when tossed toward the truck.

When we finished this phase of estate processing, the old truck had made seven runs to the dump. Lest you get the wrong idea, there is plenty to sell or give away, so most of Dad’s “stuff” (notice that word) will have value to someone. But those things stored suffered a great deal of deterioration in a span of time that didn’t seem all that protracted.

At the funeral service, we wondered if Pastor Joe Colaw had been to the barn on Dad’s property. In his sermon, he asked us if we had noticed how, at the end of our lives, our valued possessions become just “stuff”. (Yes, we had, come to think of it.)

He said the conversations go something like this: “Here this item: do you want it?” “No, I don’t want it.” “Neither do I.” “Do you?” “No.”

And it becomes just stuff.

My mind wandered off to our townhouse and the unopened boxes in the garage. Then it went to a yellow and white VW Bug I used to have. Over time its value to me faded. I no longer know its location or condition.

Bug - 1

What we value can change faster than we realize. We found new, unopened items in the house that were bought years ago. The value evidently declined before the packaging was removed.

Most of the things we tossed at the Mueller place were well-used, so had served a fine purpose. But in the all-too-swift velocity of time, they passed into disuse and entered the realm of clutter.

And don’t we all know that the deterioration process is even now at work in our bodies? Health clubs and organic diets are just two indicators that we know this is true.

“The whole creation groans.”

There will be a new day when deterioration will fade from memory. The memory of deterioration will itself deteriorate.

So, let us think now how to be less bound to “stuff”.

The process of dealing with this estate is sad for many reasons, but mixed in is a flood of wonderful memories of relationship and gatherings. Those are not deteriorating so much.

I know this: I plan to purge before I change addresses to the Heavenly City. It’s already begun.




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