I was brave yesterday. I decided to tackle the dreaded bedroom closet. Some people love clearing and purging junk. I avoid it at all costs. Actually, my mode of operation is to save and cherish. So, when I get in an “I gotta get rid of it” mode, I usually spend a whole day working on the task of cleaning. And then I can’t stop.
It’s amazing how much stuff can be lodged into one closet. As I began, I had three piles: save it, throw it away and give it away. Yesterday, I was much better at the “throw it away” and “give it away” piles. At one point, I had everything out of the closet and in my bedroom. It was such a disturbing sight that Mark couldn’t walk into the room. Slowly, ever so slowly, the task was accomplished for the day.
Throwing away the stuff that I thought “I might use someday” felt great. For example, it was freeing to throw away the mismatched socks that are never quite reunited with their partners, poor socks …. garbage.
Gems were found and gently held. On the far left, you see a butterfly rattle that was one of Grant’s first toys. Had me remembering how new and exciting it was to take care of my first baby. The gray haired lady in the white frame is me as I played “Grandma” for a team Christmas party two years ago. Had me remembering what a great group of people I worked with at Awana. On the far right is a navy blue, flowered dress of Leah’s from a daddy/daughter dance when she was about six. Corsage intact, but wilted. Had me remembering how Leah loved going to the daddy/daughter dances.
Separating things into the three piles “save it”, “throw it away” and “give it away” has me thinking about emotional and spiritual items that I have accumulated over time as well. This morning, I am asking myself the questions: 1) “What does my heart need to hold onto and cherish?” 2) “What are the emotional and spiritual wounds that I need to release and throw out?” 3) “What love and actions do I withhold that can be given away and bless someone else?”
There’s a sense in my heart that these are very deep questions that are critical to answer. Top of mind, I know there are memories of Leah and my mom that I need to cherish forever such as my mom reading fairy tales to me when I was very small. And there are memories of many walks with Leah along Michigan beaches as we “oohed and ahhed” over beautifully colored rocks.
There are also feelings of inadequacy and guilt about serving both Leah and my mom at the end of their lives that I need to pitch. Memories of being so exhausted that there were days when I didn’t know what to do or say when they were both hurting and in emotional pain. All I could do at times was sit with them.
Then, there are ways that I need to move forward and “give away” my love to others. Even if it takes every ounce of emotional energy that I have to smile, encourage and laugh some days. Or, the “giving away” of forgiveness to those people who have wounded me deeply in the last few months with behavior that I would never expect.
As I dwell on this metaphor of deep cleaning, I had a sense that answering these questions may help you too.
What do you want to save, throw away and give away?
It seems that with the new year coming upon us, it is a timely reflection. Will you join me?
In the physical realm, I’ll continue clearing out. Since job search will be slow this week, my home office is next….and in the next few weeks, maybe even Leah’s room. Her room will be a challenge….but a time to reflect, remember and savor memories of her.
“Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yield better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.” Proverbs 3:13, 14