Written May 2, 2017
“Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory” and “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened” ~Dr. SSeus
After going thru a few things in this house so I can downsize, I noticed what was supposed to be my hope chest. The chest that was handed down thru the family was tucked away in a dark corner of the basement. For the younger ones reading this and don’t know, a hope chest, also called dowry chest, is a piece of furniture traditionally used to collect items such as clothing and household linen, by unmarried young women in anticipation of married life.
According to Wikipedia, a dowry is “the transfer of parental property to a daughter at her marriage rather than at the owner’s death. A dowry establishes a type of conjugal fund, the nature of which may vary widely. This fund may provide an element of financial security in widowhood or against a negligent husband, and may eventually go to provide for her children. Dowries may also go toward establishing a marital household, and therefore might include furnishings such as linens and furniture. Dowry is an ancient custom, and its existence may well predate records of it. Dowries continue to be expected, and demanded as a condition to accept a marriage proposal in some parts of the world. Dowries have a long history in Europe, South Asia, Africa and other parts of the world.”
Today as I go thru the chest some 25 years later, I remember the day I asked my mom about the beautifully ornate handmade(I think) chest. She explained to me what it was and what it was used for along with a bit of the traditional history of it. As we went thru its contents, my mom told me about each item and who made it. Oddly enough, the items had more of a sentimental than monetary value.
The same is true for many of the other things I find in this house. Whether it’s my own things or my parents, grandparents, or other ancestral stuff, I have little memories that come back to me and each item is sentimental in value. Although I have fond memories of days gone by, I found myself becoming increasingly sad, even a bit regretful and angry. I was sad, regretful and angry because so much has changed in my life especially in the last 10 – 5yrs. I’ve lost people in my life that I once cared about, and some that I still dol care about.
Now I bet you’re wondering what a hope chest has to do with the value of moments. So many times we go thru life rushing from one thing to the next. I’m sure you know what I mean. Those days we have that fly by so fast that we don’t know where the time went. Next thing you know it’s Christmas, New Years or whatever. Before we know it the years have gone by seemingly in the blink of the eye. Finally, we have time to stop and at that point we start looking at photos and other trinkets or keepsakes. We remember the time and events connected to them. Then the feelings come. Some good, some bad and some ugly. Next comes guilt and regret. Regret can be because of anything – not enough time spent, time spent thinking if we coulda, shoulda, woulda this or that may have been better. We shouldn’t regret any of the things that have happened in our lives because they’ve made us the people we are today.
When they were popular, hope chests held remnants of the past. Whispering of days gone by. The remnants are memories from your ancestral past. They hold hope for a happy, successful, marriage and new life. They are meant to remind us of the past and the memories that we shared with our loved ones.
Thought for the day: Never regret the times from your past. Instead celebrate them for what you learned in that time. Cherish those times and the time you have left to