Cluttered bookcase, or more? Look a little deeper.

As Alex and I were doing up our new apartment, we put up all the books in our existing bookcase. And because we didn’t want to get another display shelf to put our little knickknacks and collectibles, we just put them all in the bookcase together.

After it was all done, I stood back and looked at it for a long time, fighting an internal dilemma. I was glad we put stuff there which we both liked, but the minimalist, organized me felt extremely uncomfortable at all the different, unrelated stuff piled up, close to each other. No breathing space, looked like a lot of clutter.

So I thought I will move some of the stuff away to the storage in the basement. Maybe not all the photos are important? Maybe we don’t have to showcase all the souvenirs?

Well, the photos are mostly of people who are not in this world now, or people we don’t see everyday but are extremely important to us.

Maybe the small broken clock could go, but it was a birthday gift from Alex’s grandfather, whom he was very close to.

Maybe we don’t need to take the Vietnamese vase there, especially without flowers in it, but I remember how I had bought it after going to at least 15 different stores in Ha Long, negotiating, while it was pouring, in the evening, and the shops were about to shut. That was my last trip in Vietnam. I look at the vase and I see my whole trip.

The yellow snake looks ridiculous, really. That definitely is not so beautiful as to put it up. But Alex said his parents bought for him in Bulgaria. He was a kid then, visiting the country with his parents. That snake has been his prized possession for almost 20 years now.

Ok, the silver heart which I hung on my nephew’s photo frame, definitely doesn’t need to belong here. But that was one of the first gifts I received from Alex’s family on my first Christmas with them. So definitely special.

Alex’s helmet? He got that from his buddies in the army. The little bowl? I forgot to pick one up in Portugal when I visited, so my friend got me one when she went there for her vacation.

Most of the books have such small yet precious significance too.

So I stepped back again and saw the bookcase. Now instead of the clutter, I saw stories. Emotions, experiences, relationships, memories. So many of them, through the smallest of objects or papers. Lives of two very different people, told through different mementos, coming together in one forum, and blending in perfect chaos and harmony.

A Jack Daniels bottle signed by Alex’s German, beer-drinking friends, and a holy cow sculpture, gifted by my Indian family, on the same shelf. Maybe not a sacrosanct positioning, but a perfect one, of two different lives, entwined in the same shelter.

And nothing can be more beautiful than that, in a home. Perfect to share with those who visit us here.

My FF thought of the day: Sometimes there are such deeper meanings behind everything we see. It is easy to dismiss them as clutter, as nuisances. But if we care to look beyond the obvious, we find stories that make our life fuller. Same applies when we look at people,  their actions, or circumstances. Things could look like something annoying on the surface, but if we go past that, we could find stories that could touch us, change us, or even complete us. Be #PowerfullyYOU.

*FF = Full Full. The glass is not half full, it’s always full full: 1/2 with water, 1/2 with air, even though you can’t see the air. In short, there is always something good in everything. 
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