When we moved to Florida from Colorado and started looking to buy a house, it struck as funny that finding a ‘coat closet’ in homes and Florida was a rare find. Many of the houses in Ft. Lauderdale that we were viewing had been built in the 60s for summer residents. Once I heard that, it made sense. Once I lived a year in this climate, it made even more sense.
It’s been chilly by Florida standards this week. In fact, I’m typing in a down jacket (it’s 68 degrees in our house today…for people used to 78, that feels cold). While we bought our home for reasons other than the fact it has a coat closet, opening that coat closet door made me think about the things we make a special place for in our lives.
In addition to coats, this closet houses our scuba gear, a guitar, my son’s Halloween costumes, extra picture frames, leadership development and change management course material from classes I’ve attended, a NERF gun that I don’t want my son to remember he has, and old art supplies I keep forgetting about.
God help the person who asks me if I want to throw any of this away.
Each item is meaningful to me, and each brings different, vivid feelings to my heart. The art supplies are reminders of the mom I thought I’d be (shame, guilt). The guitar is the first birthday present my husband gave me after we were married and it reminds me of those feelings of being known and cared for by the love of my life (hope, love, joy). It also reminds me of dreams yet unattained (perspective, courage). The scuba gear reminds me of adventures we have had and adventures to come. It’s symbolic of getting out of my comfort zone and achieving experiences beyond my wildest imagination and outside of what I had ever envisioned I do or see (pride, reminiscence). The coats inside remind me of where I came from (Colorado) and where my roots are — every time it gets cold enough to put one on, it’s almost as if a dormant piece of me is resurrected, a rush of familiarity reminding me of cold cheeks, mountain views, and wide open spaces (perspective, confidence, pride, contentedness).
This ‘coat closet’ isn’t a closet at all. It’s a treasure chest of milestones, dreams and identity.
Do you have a real or metaphorical coat closet? What precious treasures have you collected (perhaps without even being aware) that mark time and travel through this road of life?