I have recently been in the process of gutting my house. Getting rid of the superfluous. Ditching the things that don't matter but are taking up space in my home and my life.
Last week I focused on the living room.
I know some people have big homes and the living room is kept nice and rarely used. That's not us. We live in a relatively small home, the living room is the first room you walk into when you enter the house, and it's where we live. It's where we congregate. It's where we hang out.
And, when I got sick, it started to stack up.
Every horizontal surface was covered with stuff. Boxes of things were stacked in corners. It was a dizzying array of our lives on full display for everyone who walked into the room.
Most of it was easy to deal with; it just took time. Throw it away. Put it away. Anyone know what this is?
But there were other things that were tougher. One category that I've struggled with is trophies.
In our living room there were 28 trophies, 33 medals, and 1commemorative pin. None of them belonged to me. Or my husband. They are our children's. They are for softball, baseball, basketball, soccer, wrestling, track, piano, band, choir, math, writing, and art. And there are more in some of my kids' rooms.
There are just so many. And they serve no purpose. Or do they?
I asked my kids if they wanted to keep them. They each said they did. I told them they'd have to make room for them in their rooms. They said they'd think about it. I ended up putting them all in a box in storage. Maybe after they've been out of sight for a while they will decide they don't need them.
And I asked myself why they are so desirable.
When I coached there were times we bought trophies for the kids. They cost about four dollars each. They usually have a solid base and incredibly cheap plastic moldings of some sort on top. They also usually have a nameplate of some kind. They are pretty, but whittled down to their basic materials they aren't really worth much.
They have value because of what they represent. Trophies represent a victory, like the trophy of a hunt. They say, "Look at this cool thing I did!" And through this they say that at one time we were great, maybe the best.
And I think that's why we hold onto them. We all have moments when we doubt our worth. But we can look at these and see that there are (or were) things we are good at.
And there are all sorts of trophies. I think that's often what the big, beautiful library is. It shows that we read all those books. That we conquered. That we are of value. Or the trophy wife which shows that a man was chosen as superior to other men. Or the trophy car. The trophy home. The trophy title.
There are so many trophies in our lives. Why do we want them? Why do we keep them? Isn't knowing that we won enough?
When my kids ask, "What do I get if I win?" and I say "bragging rights" or "the knowledge that you won" it doesn't always cut it. The world seems to ask, "Why is it worth working hard if I don't have a prize to show for it?"
But I'm going to keep trying. I'm going to keep teaching that even when the thing that marks the accomplishment is gone, the accomplishment isn't. That doing great things is shown in the people we become, not a cheap piece of plastic. That many friends and a life you can be proud of are the best trophy.