This week, our church is intersecting with our community through a week-long Servefest. Our family is helping out with Project HEARTH. You can read some of my thoughts in yesterday’s post. Tons of progress was made last night! I’m excited to see what we’ll be able to accomplish by working together this week.
If you couldn’t figure it out, the woman we are helping is a hoarder. I haven’t seen the TV show, Hoarders, but I’m quite confident that this home would easily fit in with the show. I did some research yesterday to learn more about hoarding. According to Wikipedia,
Compulsive hoarding (or pathological collecting) is a pattern of behavior that is characterized by the excessive acquisition of and inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that would seemingly qualify as useless or without value. Compulsive hoarding behavior has been associated with health risks, impaired functioning, economic burden, and adverse effects on friends and family members. When clinically significant enough to impair functioning, hoarding can prevent typical uses of space so as to limit activities such as cooking, cleaning, moving through the house, and sleeping. It can also be dangerous if it puts the individual or others at risk for fire, falling, poor sanitation, and other health concerns.
For more information on compulsive hoarding, click here. The woman we are helping fits the description very closely.
It’s been a challenge to get this woman and her home out of my head. I keep wondering how someone could let it get to this level. I keep asking why there aren’t people in her life to help.
One thing this woman collects is yarn. She has enough yarn to make sweaters for all the students at our local elementary school. As we were talking with her last night, you could tell she had a “relationship” with her yarn. I realize this is part of her behavior (perhaps illness), but it got me thinking (of course).
What am I holding onto in this life? What do I collect? My wife often gives me a hard time about all the books that I get through the mail. I still have all my baseball cards (roughly 30,000 of them). I have several years worth of Runner’s World and Handyman Magazine.
I’m not a hoarder, but it’s easy to go after the wrong thing – to hold onto things that won’t last. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about collecting things that matter.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Over the past couple of days, we have literally seen the destruction of stuff by moths, worms, and other “vermin.” I don’t want to get to the end of my life only to hear “Jon had the biggest and best baseball card collection” or “I loved Jon’s collection of books.“ I want to collect things that matter. The only thing I can take from here that really matters is people. What am I doing on a daily basis to store up treasures in heaven? This is a question worth pursuing!
What do you collect? What are you hoarding?
[NOTE: If you live in the area and could lend a hand, we need people who can work inside and outside her home - cleaning, painting, doing repairs, and doing yard work. If we could find roofing material, gutters, and carpenters, we would put a new roof on her house. If we could get chainsaws, brush hogs, and lawn mowers, we would overhaul her yard. We could also use dumpsters. If anyone know how and where we could get free dumpsters, let me know. We are scratching the surface this week, but hopefully we will leave a dent that lasts for an eternity.]