Please welcome today’s guest writer, Natasha (Strydhorst) Unsworth. Natasha (’16) studied writing and environmental studies at Calvin and science journalism at Boston University. She’s now embarking on a Ph.D. in media & communication (aiming to skirt the media facet as much as possible and focus on science communication) at Texas Tech University.

It’s possible I’m something of a hoarder. I’ve lately been making more moves than a novice “Concentration” player, and the hoarder possibility inches uncomfortably closer to probable with each overhaul of my living location. Mysteriously, every time I go to pack up the same four battered suitcases, my worldly possessions no longer all fit neatly into them (and this isn’t even counting the various caches of hoarded items at my parents’ places). 

I recently received a Hallmark package that was rather heftier than I was expecting. A little puzzled, I cut into the packaging exhorting me to “#CareEnough.” Rather than the single anniversary card I’d requested, I found three dad-joke-style birthday greetings and a glittery 50th-anniversary congratulation stacked neatly inside. My first thought was to attach the enclosed shipping label and send the package on its merry way to the woman who’d actually ordered it, but extremely friendly Mike from customer service told me not to bother. 

Naturally (for hoarder me), my next thought was to hold onto all the cards and dole them out at the appropriate occasion (lugging them from temporary home to temporary home for who knows how long, in the meantime). It would make such a great story, thought I, to give my in-laws (seven years hence) a fiftieth-anniversary card that literally fell into my lap while we were visiting them back in 2020. 

I try to justify this chipmunk-like behaviour by weaseling it into a different definition: I’m not a hoarder of possessions, really, but of stories, and there’s no such thing as too many stories, right? This disingenuous defence, however, falls to tatters when I discover a box of stuff I’d completely forgotten I owned and promptly (if somewhat shamefacedly) decide to lug it over to the next home anyway.  

“#CareEnough,” reads that Hallmark package. Oh no, Hallmark, I think it’s quite likely I already care far too much about the assorted unnecessary objects in that unasked-for packet. Don’t tempt me further. And is this not true temptation, in the dangerous devilish sense? This inexplicable and irrational attachment to possessions isn’t merely perplexing—it’s emphatically unbiblical. 

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures [and certainly not Hallmark cards] 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” (Matthew 6:19-20). No one’s going to break in and steal some greeting cards, and moths don’t tend to infest modern homes, but that’s obviously far offside of the point. 

The things I ought to care enough about do not come in Hallmark envelopes. 

It’s probable I’m something of a hoarder. All the same, I’ve held onto those unexpected and unasked-for cards—for now. They’re still teaching me a valuable lesson. They’re already destined to leave my possession and carry a mildly humorous story to my in-laws (albeit not this day, or month, or year). And isn’t it altogether possible that valuable lessons and mildly humorous stories are treasures both here and in heaven?

2 Comments

  1. Kyric Koning

    Ah yes. Holding on to stuff. Well, if it’s teaching you lessons, it can’t be all bad. I do like the concept of holding onto stories though…

    Thanks for sharing with the post calvin. Keep writing as your heart leads.

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    ““#CareEnough,” reads that Hallmark package. Oh no, Hallmark, I think it’s quite likely I already care far too much about the assorted unnecessary objects in that unasked-for packet. Don’t tempt me further.”

    I laughed out loud and also feel personally attacked. As someone who moves a lot too (GR, to Japan, to Colorado, to South Carolina, to Virginia just since I graduated in 2014), I know that chipmunk attitude well. You’re very right that the things we should actually “care enough” about are not possessions. Learning that (often the hard way) certainly helped with dealing with all those possessions and I’m grateful for that (and Marie Kando).

    Reply

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