Bowling stories.

I put my bowling ball in the dumpster.

Goodwill doesn’t take bowling balls.

It’s monogrammed. It was custom drilled.

But the initials aren’t mine. The hand it was customized for wasn’t mine.

I’ve had this bowling ball for thirty years or so. I’ve used it twenty times in those years. It was always too heavy. It’s a 16-pound ball. The grip was always off a little. I often wanted to think about trying a different ball, but this one was mine.

I don’t know where I got it. It was someone else’s trash or garage sale. At most I spent fifty cents for it. And once I paid the price, I carried the weight.

A couple years ago I decided to get rid of it. That’s how I found out that Goodwill doesn’t take bowling balls. One day I thought, “I wonder what it would be like to roll a bowling ball down the long center hallway at our church.” So I took it to work. It’s fun. A couple other people tried it and laughed. Because no one ever rolls a bowling ball down the hallway at church.

Even though I wasn’t a good bowler, even though you can use bowling balls for free, even though it didn’t fit, I kept it. I made it part of the quirky part of my identity, or better, it was part of what made my identity quirky.

IMG_1293But I put the bowling ball in the dumpster. Because carrying the weight of the story, the oddness, the salvage, the space under my desk, finally proved too much. I need to let go of some of the objects, some of the stories. Because in my world, everything has a story.

You can’t write new stories if the old ones are always having to be told. And some old stories aren’t worth telling.

I’d rather tell stories, for example, of the rock from the floor of the church in the dump in Korah, or the mug of family photos, or the map of the world. I’d rather tell stories of preparing to run faster by letting go of the things that distract us.

I’d rather be the person that let go of the bowling ball for the sake of things that matter more.


More on throwing away and Hebrews 12: Applied minimalism.

5 thoughts on “Bowling stories.

    1. Jon Swanson

      That’s right! You had a chance to participate in church bowling. But you are right about the burden.

      On Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 9:49 AM, 300 words a day wrote:



  1. Frank Reed

    Jon – Been a while since I chimed in but this was such a great story for me to stumle upon at this time.

    We all carry weights of some kind but we as believers are not intended to let them weigh us down. His yoke is light. I want His weight.

    Take care and keep telling those new stories, please.


  2. Elaine Stauss

    Thank you ,Jon.
    I have had a lot of situations of needing to move on and of letting go. Being very sentimental causes this to be quite an issue for me.
    You have helped me to see there is need to keep on asking for wisdom to let go and know God’s mind on each situation.
    I appreciate your stories, old and new.


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