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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Those Ties

Posted Thursday, June 11, 2009, at 2:36 PM

One evening I stood in the closet and counted all my ties. I'd been wanting to purchase new ones, current fashionable ones, but had a gnawing feeling about already having "too many," whatever that mean! So, I stood there in amazement as I discovered I had one hundred and twenty seven ties.

Some have been in my possession for decades and had special memories. For instance, I still have two of my grandfather's ties and he died in 1974. Others marked important events in my life like weddings where I was the best man (four so far). Some were gifts given along my professional journey. Some were gifts from friends (like my Bullwinkle "What's a Matter U" educator's apparel). Some define certain philosophies of life (like my Endangered Species ties, especially my Bald Eagle tie that I wear to Native American events) while others define certain favorite "conversation starters" (like my Star Trek ties). Some are religious oriented. But most are ties whose history I can't remember.

How many ties does one man need?

I'm now in my fifth decade of life. I've been reviewing and assessing all my possessions for the last four years or so. I'm tired of moving from parsonage to parsonage but each time I do it reminds me that I'm "carrying" a lot of stuff from one place to another. I've decided that I don't need all that stuff but it's been very painful deciding what goes with me into the future of my journey and what get's abandoned. Abandoned ... there's a term that illustrates how I've become attached to my stuff, as if I'm abandoning a child or a friend.

I've decided to do with my ties what I've been doing with my books. A former librarian, I painfully can't "get rid of" a book. Instead, I've learned to release it from my possession. Each day I select a treasure from the past, reread certain portions of it, thank "it" for having been important to who I am today, and place it in a box that will eventually be full and given to a Public Library for book sales. I like to think I've sent to new homes over four thousand books I've released from my possession (and I have a few more to go...).

I'm now selecting a tie to do the same. I'll wear it sometime during the week, remember scenes and people from the past I've associated with it, thank the universe for those being a part of who I am, and release the tie from my possession. Each week I'm selecting a different tie to uplift as an "alumni" of my journey up to now. I put each tie in a box, but I haven't decided what to do with them yet. Who knows, perhaps they'll make a good White Elephant Christmas gift in the winter to come.

I still want new ties! And, I plan on purchasing a couple, but only after I figure out how many ties is enough to have in my possession at any one time. Our culture has this thing about possessions and stuff and not wanting to let go of them. Look at all the storage companies that dot the landscape and the money we'll spend to keep our abundant stuff. Yet, when do we reach that stage of having enough, and what do we do with all the things we no longer "need" to take with us into our bright futures? Indeed, what may be tie-ing us to the past instead of blessing us to go forward?

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Sunshine for the Soul
Rev. P.T. Wilson
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P.T. Wilson is the senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Greencastle, and is also the University Chaplain at DePauw University.
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