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Parable of the Hoarder and Her Savior

By Carl S ~

Those who have ears to hear, let them hear: There is a hoarder I know. After her husband died many years ago, she began to acquire and amass interior mountains of “stuff,” so that her grown children became agitated about her state of mind and health. Moreover, the city's health department threatened to condemn her property and evict her unless it was brought up to standards within 90 days. Of course she was emotionally upset, but unable to come to terms with her problem. Professional counselors for hoarders came to talk to her, but were unable to make any headway. Time was passing.

Finally, her family found just the man for the job. It didn't hurt he was charismatic and handsome, and lived “right here, in our town!” He was well known as the savior of “lost causes” like her. It helped that he reminded her of young men she had fallen in love with. There was something mysterious about him. With him, she felt special; she felt she had a new lease on life. She felt the love she'd come to accept as lost forever was born again in her. “Things” were no longer a substitute for relationships. Her outlook on life shifted away from the accumulated comfort blanket of memories around her. She still had difficulty accepting one fact: not only had accumulations “grown on” her, they identified her.

But under the skillful and tender loving care of her savior, she began to relax little by little, while watching her accumulations being taken away, which meant grieving. Each item held memories for her, so she experienced a sense of losing her past. In some way, we can relate to this. Still, our minds try to understand how the roots of security, even false security, run deep, and deeper for some people than others.

Whatever the savior said, or however he listened to her, he succeeded. She decided to move on with her life, but how? What about the future? Those who knew her well suspected her hoarding would return, since deeply entrenched habits are hard to quit. Her savior had a sixth sense about this, and planned a solution: After her place was empty and sold, they would together experience new, beautiful memories in another.

In her cleared-out house, now down to the bare essentials of comfort and memories, she and her savior sat at the table, where he laid out his plan: This would be a secret between the two of them. Trust him; his father owned many mansions; he will find her a beautiful new house, where she can, undisturbed, pile up new things to her heart's content. She had to sign over her life insurance and social security into his care, and he would sell whatever antiques she had and give the proceeds to charity. In the meantime, she must forgive anybody who had offended her, taking their focus off her, so they'd not have an inkling about their planned spiritual elopement.

His assurance was balm to a sore soul. “Be at peace, everything will be perfect.” She obeyed. He told her he was returning to his father's house, where they would prepare for hers. ”Don't worry, it's in my hands,” he said. ”I promise you I will return, and soon.”

Days went by, then months and years. Decades. She became homeless. And still she waits and hopes.