From the book, The Gifts of Life and Love by Ben Zion Bokser.
A child will clutch an old blanket or an old and battered toy, and will not let it go. He takes it with him to bed, as though it were his most priceless possession. Parents are occasionally baffled, but the child is only affirming a principle that dominates all life. He is attached to the familiar.
Amidst the shifting things which make up the world of common experience, it is comforting to hold on to something which does not change. It gives us a feeling of stability and permanence. The blanket is precious precisely because it is old and worn, because around it cluster many sweet memories of being tucked into it by the tender and loving hands of mother, night after night. The blanket is an anchor that holds the tiny ship to the shore, while yet permitting it to venture a little way in slow motions of discovery and exploration.
We all clutch old blanket of one kind to another. We feel a special attachment to objects, and places, and people, because they carry happy memories for us. We hold on to ideas and persist in habits because they carry the compulsion of the familiar.
This compulsion of the familiar maybe injurious. It makes it difficult for us to grow up, to change, to respond to the call of new ideas. Yet we could not meet life’s demands without it. For this is the source of our loyalty to all that we have and to all that we are. It gives us a feeling of security and permanence, amidst the anarchy of change which we see all about us.
The attachments to the familiar is a device that God has put into our nature, to make sure that we shall live in the three dimensions of time. We are moving from the present into the future, and we are meant to take our past with us.
What is your old blanket?
I have not one but too many old blankets – stuffs that I clutch on because they have been with me for a long time and I couldn’t get myself to throw them away. They hold very special sentiments. They are reminders of who I was, where I have been and friendships that came with it. They hold both good and bad memories, that sometimes they uplift my soul and sometimes they drag me down to sadness.
With these stuffs, uncluttering is especially hard. But in time, I have learned to be selective in what to keep and to let go of some of them. Sometimes in order to move on it is important to recognize that some stuffs are just stuffs. There are those in our past that has forever left an imprint in our lives and we just have ourselves, the person we have become, as the ultimate reminder.