Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Keeping Company: On Keeping and Not Keeping

In the past month I've been thinking about Keeping and Not Keeping.  Or perhaps rather, "Keepable" and "Not Keepable."

I am by nature a keeper. Mostly a keeper of things, I have many things that I've inherited or been given.  There are a number of wedding gifts I can tell you today who gave them to us ... or children's toys.  I form a emotional attachment to them.  The furniture from my mom, I love it and don't want to part with it. My great-grandmother's china cupboard? I didn't even know her, but it was my mom's and became mine.

This can get me into trouble, though, because I get attached to drawings my children have made, notes written on scraps of paper, the mummified cornish game hen currently residing in the cupboard over the refrigerator. And my children have learned this, too.  Sunday School papers and crafts are the bane of my household. (But, really, they're a scapegoat, the children keep everything.)

I'm also a keeper of ideas.  I have notebooks all over with quotes in them (I found another one just the other day). Did you watch Sarah and Andrew or the Schole Sisters? Loved that.  So good.  I have two link-keeping accounts (delicious and diigo).  Mystie has me hooked on Evernote for my online keeping.

Somehow our family has had an emphasis on arts: art and music in particular.  We do our Art with Friends group, we've taken art classes, we're doing a drawing course from a book.  Can I tell you how many drawings and other cool projects we have laying about? (Happily, most of the drawings are in big art portfolios).

But we also do all sorts of music.  Music, by nature, is less easy to capture and keep.  It exists not in space, but in time.  With art, we capture the artifact.  With music, the artifact is ephemeral, an event here and now and then gone.  Yes, you can capture it on video -and I do sometimes:

A video posted by dawn (@ladydusk) on

But video isn't the same. Sometimes, like above, it's grainy or choppy.  Also, I want to enjoy the moment, I want to watch the performance live, not worry about my video equipment or watch through a screen.  I want to be present for my children when they perform, to revel in them.  Music is in time, but not in space.  How do we keep what is in time but not space?

I realize, though, that I want to keep in order to remember. I know Mrs. McDonough gave me my Christmas dishes and I remember her when we use them. I keep Cluckenbalmen because I want to remember what my children and I studied. I keep pictures, and notes, and words and sermons because I don't want to lose the sentiments and ideas behind them.

I'm forgetful.  I'm inattentive.  I don't love as I ought.

I want to learn to keep what is in time but not space.

I think I have to follow the example of Jesus' mother Mary and do that keeping by treasuring in my heart.


  1. There's definitely a balance to be aimed for in keeping records. Sometimes, I am so in the moment that it never occurs to me to snap a shot, and I regret it. Other times, I'm so focused on being the photographer, I completely miss the moment. So...I try to make sure photography comes second, but that I always have my phone charged and with available memory :)

    1. Yes! I took a lot of pictures on our trip yesterday, but tried to pit the phone away, too. I've been trying to not record during music recitals but that's harder for me. I'm so proud and so enjoy their playing and seeing their advancement over the year(s).

  2. This is a beautiful reflection, Dawn. Isn't it true that most of our life as mothers we can't Keep? (Alas!) But I am learning that the habit of slowing down that I am forming through my Keeping is bearing fruit in my utilizing that same habit to be more present with my children to relish those un-Keepable moments.

    1. That is quite an encouragement, Celeste, that practicing keeping in some arenas helps in others.


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