...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".
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...