This afternoon I scanned all of the papers that I viewed as being worth scanning which was actually a lot less than I had originally thought. In the end the papers that I valued most were the handouts from various spiritual retreats and days of prayer or instruction sheets from my spiritual director. The other papers were over rated as when it comes to things from my family and loved ones it is the pictures and not the letters that matter most to me. Especially since nobody was a big letter writer in my family so a long note in a card from my grandmother about how proud of me she was when I graduated seminary is trivial compared to the pictures that I have of her and the recipes of my favorite foods that she makes, both of which are already in my computer and backed up in numerous places.
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Celtic Christian has written 4 entries about this goal
Tonight I went through the special wooden box that I contain the special sentimental papers which is mainly made up of letters and cards from friends and family, or so I thought. Upon sorting through it I was able to easily purge over half of the contents of the box as meaningless filler. Like a wedding invitation from a friend’s wedding that I had saved alongside of letters from my grandparents upon graduating college and seminary? Clearly the later were worth keeping but the former get purged. As unless it is a photograph, changes are a card that only has the person’s name written inside it is not worth keeping.
Recently I am starting to wonder how much of a blessing as compared to a curse a scanner is in reality. Sure a scanner can allow one to scan in images and documents into the computer, but how much of the convince has become a burden. When I was reading a Sherlock Holmes short story the other day it struck me how one of the stories featured a man who was given a document to be copied by the next day from his employee. Which has me wondering if the real test of a document is if it is worth enough to be hand copied, or retyped to be worth scanning. As after all any subset of a document that is worth keeping is more of commonplace book material as compared to simply turning stacks of papers into directories of jpeg or pdf files.
When the scanning process seems too overwhelming, take the time to sort through one’s papers to first figure out what is worth keeping and then what is worth scanning. If a piece of paper is not worth keeping it is not worth scanning. Likewise just because it is worth keeping does not mean that it is worth scanning. After a document is scanned it may or may not be worth keeping the original depending upon what it is. For some things like retreat handouts they are better off in the computer for easy reference and sharing with others, other things like letters that were scanned to create a backup are likely worth keeping depending upon who they are from.
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