It was one of those split-second decisions. Which is not normally how I operate. FlyLady (http://flylady.net/) said that I had to clean out from under my bed last week, and when FlyLady speaks, I've learned to listen.
I knew what was under that bed. Almost forty years worth of a collection that has now spanned two generations. When I was eleven, I took a summer school class in biology. (Yes, for fun. Call it weird if you want. I'm OK with that.) In that class, we learned two things: how to play Frisbee, and how to collect insects. I'm still pretty good at both.
Collecting insects appealed to me, because 1) I love collecting things; 2) I love identifying things; and 3) I love wildlife. And no, it is not inhumane, since, as was pointed out to me, insects live for a grand total of about two weeks anyway. So it's not like you're ridding the planet of the spotted snow leopard or anything.
Later, two daughters would continue the saga, and one would amass a hefty collection of 4H championship trophies for those efforts. Her work was superior, by any standards.
But it was time, I realized, for that collection that we have all stopped adding to to find a new home. I've been avoiding that decision for years, because parting with almost 40 years of memories, hard work, and a great deal of family memories into is a tough, tough thing to do. So before I could rethink it, I googled natural history museums, dashed an email off to one of them, and offered up those years.
Reaction of daughters who owned part of collection:
#1—Well, OK, I guess. Maybe. But can I look at it one last time?
You can guess which one won the trophies.
So on a very rainy day last week, nine boxes of six-legged critters found a new home at the Midwest Museum of Natural History (http://www.mmnh.org/). To say the staff was ecstatic when they saw the extent of their bequeathment (I thinkI just created that word) is like saying the Field Museum was happy to acquire Sue.
Which is what made the parting easier. Someone will love that collection. Kids will learn from it. Instead of being tucked under my bed with nowhere to display them, they're out in the world. (And really, my friends already think I'm odd. How do you think they'd feel about us if we did display nine boxes of dead insects in strategic locations around our house? “Hi—welcome to dinner. Oh, don't mind the giant wasp behind the table. Just part of our ambiance.”)
Bottom line: They're being used and profiting other people in a way they could not in our possession. And people think we're generous benefactors instead of scary psycho freaks. It's a win-win.
Do you have things like that in your home? Or maybe not tangible things in your home, but perhaps cramming your soul? Those things that may have been useful and valuable once, but now they are collecting cobwebs? A lot of us have talents hiding under our proverbial beds, or gifts that we hold close rather than use. We've been storing them up, but no one is benefitting from them because we are afraid or too busy to take them out and set them free.
I look forward to a trip to the museum to see our collection finding new life. Dust off a talent or two and see what you can do, as well.