Growing up I used to be mortified because two times a year my father would insist on going to Fort Bragg for grocery shopping. He was career military, serving in 3 wars, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, and felt strongly that he should utilize the career military perks that came once he retired.

These trips to Bragg were not any normal “grocery store” trips. He’d make a list for months and then we’d go and he’d “stock up.” Like two or three shopping carts FULL of stuff. I’d be mortified doing it today, but especially as a teenager . . . I hated those trips!  My dad would say that the excessive purchases were because it was so much cheaper buying things from the commissary on base instead of in a civilian grocery store. But 40 years later looking back on that, I’m not so sure that was his real reason. 

From outside appearances my father seemed to have it all together. He was obsessed with cleanliness, like OCD obsessed. Things were always neat and orderly, no dirt, etc. So I was shocked when upon his death I had to go into the basement of his home for something and it was like an episode straight out of hoarders. Truly!

Boxes from things he’d purchased decades ago. Bags. And stuff . . . just tons and tons of stuff. 

He had saved EVERYTHING. 

It literally took my breath away to see that “this” was a part of my father that I never knew. He hid it well. 

People hoard for a variety of reasons.

They believe the items they hoard are unique or will be needed at some point in the future. Or the items have important emotional significance — serving as a reminder of happier times or representing beloved people or pets. Sometimes 

they feel safer when surrounded by the things they save. And lastly, maybe because of extreme personal life circumstances, they’ve lived “without” before and don’t want to ever be in that place again and they don’t want to waste anything.

Sometimes we wrestle with our faith like my father wrestled with the need to have “stuff.” 

Because we find ourselves uncertain and unsure, we become afraid. We like living in areas of certitude and assurance rather than areas of gray. We cling to ideas, thoughts, and beliefs believing that having them will take away our anxieties regarding circumstances and our future. We find peace in “being saved.” 

However the idea of being “saved” infers that it is a one time thing. You do something, you receive that gift of “being saved” and then one is good to go forever. Faith, and most certainly life, are not like that. It is ever changing and evolving. Circumstances morph and change, bringing new questions, doubts, and fears. 

If we can move from thinking of “being saved” as a static one time thing and instead understand it as an ongoing, transformative process, being “saved” offers a hope that otherwise we may not know.

It is the promise that in the middle of ANY circumstance, we are not alone. The peace and love from God that dwells within us is there for us to cling to so that we can make it through whatever circumstance is before us. 

The beautiful thing is we don’t have to hoard salvation. It is always present for us, never going away, and meets us where we are always, working within us so that we can embrace the Kingdom of Heaven in the here and now.