Saturday, October 22, 2011

Letting Go

Letting go...

...of bad habits...a certain lifestyle...dreams.

It can be difficult to do...this letting go.

If your a blogger who's into the farm life/homesteading life, than you've probably been following Flower Patch Farmgirl's series of posts on "letting go".  Shannan, her husband and kiddos are making some radical life changes and she's been chronicling their journey and the the changes that require "letting go".  It's a wonderful thought-provoking series and I invite you to go here if you aren't already familiar with her and her super cute kiddos as well as ingesting some great food for thought!

I recently "let go" of a lot of "stuff".  
Baby stuff.

For many of you, this is a no-brainer.

My sweet friend, Erin, lets go of stuff all the time.  And her house looks like it.  

Immaculate.  Uncluttered.  Peaceful.

Completely the opposite of my home.

I've been trying to figure out this "hoarding" problem I have...

No, I'm not eligible to be on TLCs Hoarders, but I do have tons of "stuff" taking over my home.  And it's no longer baby stuff.  Now it's "toddler" stuff..."grade schooler" stuff...

You get the picture.

A simple answer would be to A)  Stop buying more stuff, and B) to simply get rid of the stuff.  

But it's not that easy.  (And we rarely do A. Actually, "A" is really the result of other people buying my kiddos stuff!)  It's me and B that have difficulty.

One thing that I have learned from watching Hoarders is that hoarding rarely results from living a normal day to day lifestyle, but rather, almost always has some sort of "trauma or dysfunction" attached to it.  Death of a spouse or child...growing up in poverty...abandonment/divorce of spouse or parents...mental health issues, etc.

As I look at the baby stuff that I hold onto, I realize that my trauma was infertility.  And even though my husband and I were able to eventually have biological children, it didn't come without a cost.  A deep wound to the very depths of our souls...a wound that heals and creates a scar that is still red and raised and tender to the touch.  That scar is healing...getting tougher and whiter...smoother and less sensitive.  But it's still there. 

I know to outsiders, especially those that have never struggled with infertility, it should seem that our problem has been solved...gone away.  But just because one eventually has a child does not mean that infertility is cured.  It never really goes away.  It's always there...peeking out from behind the curtain.

Sure, I'm happy for folks when they announce they are expecting #6...or have "Big Families are a Blessing" tags on their blogs.  But it always causes me to catch my breath...even if just for a moment.  (Little families are a blessing too!)

So back to the problem at hand.

Stuff.  Baby stuff.  Lots and lots of baby stuff.

I have been doing lots of soul searching, reading, and praying about letting go of stuff.

And so I did.  Last weekend.  

My girl and I held a garage sale.  Our first ever.  (I typically donate to charity...except my baby stuff... and call it a day.)  And truth be known, if my favorite "Big Families are a Blessing" bloggers lived closer to me, I would have just invited you all over to rummage through my rubber maid tubs and donated to you.  We could have had a giant baby clothing give-away and then ate dessert while all our kiddos ran around...it would have been great fun!

But since none of you live close to me I did the garage sale thing.  If for no other reason than to earn some cash for tuition payments!

Whew...that was a ton of work!  Even with my girl helping me. 

It was painful at first.  To watch the beautiful bassinet that we bought for our firstborn be carted off...and then Mary's nursery layette...and then all the holiday dresses.




But what I realized as that beautiful blue basket on wheels rolled down the driveway was that I have attached all sorts of emotion and memories to these objects.  I hold onto objects to "never forget" the wonderment and amazement of creating and expecting new life.  And for a long time I wanted those who bought or got my stuff to LOVE it as much as I do. 

As I watched my girl hock cinnamon rolls to early morning garage-salers I also realized that I don't need "stuff" to remember the "wonderment and amazement of creating and expecting new life."...she was sitting right there next to me...in all her beautiful, loose-tooth, gangly-legged, flaxen-haired beauty. And I could touch her, hold her, take in every ounce of her being...every.single.day.  I can nurture and love on her and her brothers in the flesh...creating new memories...living in the present, not the past.


And I know God blesses me expecting me to bless others in return. 

Most of the clothing...marked $.25 to $.50 was purchased by the Hispanic families that live in our town.  They cleaned me out.  I talked with one father and he explained that they purchase the clothing to mail to family members back in Mexico.

I sold out three tables of baby boy clothing...we've got lots of grandsons in our family!


I think many (not you dear readers!) in society would find this irritating...annoying...problematic.

But it is not unlike what my grandparents used to do in the 1970s and 1980s for extended family in Poland.  My parents would often donate our gently used clothing to my grandmother who would box it up and mail it to relatives suffering under a Communist regime. 

Only the politics have changed...the need has not.

A comment was made to me that "those folks buying my clothing probably didn't have "green cards". "

Do you think Christ would ask to see their "green card" before extending a helping hand...

...I don't either.

Charity starts at home.  By teaching my children that we don't hoard...that what we have in this life does nothing to serve us in the next life except in the way of providing a hand up to others...I teach them to love.

Am I "all cured".  No.  It's going to take some time to heal emotionally and physically (as in boxing up lots of stuff for donation!) from this "hoarding" habit of mine, but with my eye on the prize (heaven), I can learn to...

Let Go.

Happy Saturday,


7 comments:

  1. My sweet Val, what a beautiful and inspiring post!!! I love the fact you let go and parted with all the stuff you did! And let me tell you to see your affordable prices, that is a huge blessing right there! So many make the comments you spoke of and charger higher prices. But in reality I feel those aren't blessing others! I love doing garage sales for the very reason, as I watch our stuff leave us, I hear how it will bless others! Some being sent to Mexico, some helping other countries, and lots helping a family right near home! I agree Christ doesn't ask to see green cards, he doesn't care where the help is being sent, just helping and blessing is our job! You are such a great friend, and wonderful Godly example of the person I am striving to be! I really respect and admire you! You are a great leader and teacher!!! Thank you for being all you are!! And I know the infertility scar is healing for us both, and for that I am thankful! It will always have tender spots and areas, but to see how far we have come, is a huge blessing!!! And you are blessed with 3 beautiful beautiful sweet souls!!! And btw, I love your oct picture!

    Have a beautiful weekend my friend!

    Hugs and Love,

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the story about the man sending clothes back. I had a garage sale years ago in our previous town and noticed that the Hispanic families bought up all of the clothes. I had no idea!

    Also, I love this: "(Little families are a blessing too!" So true. :)

    Thanks for the love here, girl. I'm glad I stopped by!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, my gosh, that was a great post.
    I'll pray for you, but I'm sure now that it's gone, it feels much better than actually keeping it.

    I am the one with the button that says "Big families are a Blessing" and I have to explain. (I really don't think ours is a big family, I think a family of 10 kiddos is a big family, but in todays society, ours is considered big)

    We struggled with infertility for the first almost 3 years of our marriage. I totally understand. I also treasure the gift that can be taken away just like that. Every time we do start "trying" it always takes quite a few months, it's never easy. OK, one baby was a surprise, my 4th one. SO the button is on my blog because it reminds me of how blessed I am and not to take it all for granted, as it is so easy to do. To remember they all come from God and all are gifts.

    I go through my "stuff" every month at least and donate to Goodwill. I think secretly I'm afraid of becoming a hoarder. Those shows are on all the time!! I still have my baby boy clothes and told my husband even if this next baby is a girl, I'm keeping it til I'm 45, then I'll give it all away.

    I'm proud of you for doing what you did and am shocked that anyone would say such a thing about "green cards" Seriously? Gosh sakes.

    We all are God's children. Green cards or not. What a gift you were to those families. You are life giving in so many areas of your life, so many more than just bearing children. That's what matters. You are rich in virtue.

    God bless

    ReplyDelete
  4. To my incredible-shrinking ;) friend, Patty, thank you for your comments. They touched my heart. I know, you know, what infertility feels like...even if you have children through biology or adoption...its a hurt that is slow to heal. But heal it does!

    To Shannan, Thanks for dropping by! I hope I did you justice! You are such a blessing to all the lives you touch. Your Letting Go series has been truly inspirational...definitely the Holy Spirit working through you!!!

    And to Jamie Jo...girl you know I love you...even though we don't "know" each other...and you were NOT even the one I was thinking of when I wrote about the "big families" blog tag! So many of my Catholic blog friends post that...and it is true...but so are the families of the "only" or the brother/sister combo...God creates our families and the all look different. It's just envy rearing its ugly head! You've shared with me your struggle and I know that you too understand infertility. So many of us do!

    Blessings to you all. Thank you for your friendship,

    Val

    ReplyDelete
  5. First time visiting your blog and commenting on it; I so enjoyed reading this post. I know it was hard to part with your baby things, but I believe you blessed so many with the reasonable prices you charged and those items no longer used by you/your family will be put to great use by so many possibly in need! I do understand infertility; my husband and me struggled with it, ended up making our family through adoption. They are grown and out of the house and infertility doesn't visit me often these days, but I remember those days when I described it as an unwelcome guest who liked to come and visit when you least expected it (the emotions involved with it).

    I think it is always wise to go through out things and sort out what we have and what we need to part with that others can use.

    I hope you have a great week ahead!

    betty

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great job--I know that was hard for you but you got through it and you know that the stuff you were holding on to will serve others just as the items did for you, Chris and the kids.
    Mary looks like a super saleswoman and Luke is just getting too big.
    I can't believe what a big man he is!

    Melinda

    ReplyDelete
  7. What an inspirational post - and I can totally relate to your emotions over clinging to the baby stuff. We aren't ready to get rid of ours yet as we are still aiming for more kiddos, but I am already anxious about the day I will need to let them go. How I will love blessing another family who needs them, but I imagine I will still feel that need to hold on just a little longer.

    And yes, small families are a blessing too! :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Your kind words are appreciated! As Mother Teresa said, "Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."

Valerie