It’s been a while since I have been able to sit down and put two thoughts together with any cogency. Life has demanded I move at its speed, and I have dutifully complied, handcuffed as I was to things that needed doing on a firm timetable with no wiggle room.
As I now pause to take a deep breath, I am reminded of the story of the big game hunters who traveled to a distant and foreign land where they engaged local tribesman to carry their gear and belongings through the thick bush. Day after day, sunrise to sunset, they bushwhacked through thick jungle hastening in pursuit of the big game. One morning, as the hunters hurried to reengage the pursuit, the tribesmen stayed where they were, not moving, not rising, not packing, not tracking. “What are you doing?” the hunters implored, “We need to get moving!” The tribesmen replied simply, “We are waiting for our souls to catch up.”
Today, as the fog begins to clear, I am letting my soul catch up. My husband and I have just completed our own big game expedition. We packed up and moved out of our longtime home. All that has gone before has been boxed, bagged or tossed. How humbling it is to stand before your leavings at the curb — load after precious load.
Three things are pinging my brain:
- Buy only what you need and use what you have until it’s gone. Discarding so much — physically taking it out with the trash — forces me to see how much waste I am actually responsible for. Mother Earth, I am so sorry.
- Don’t save for a rainy day. Do it, say it, use it now. Omission is difficult to live with and often impossible to rectify. Deep cabinets are not your friend. If it doesn’t come close to hand, you probably don’t need it. Someone else needs it more.
- There’s never the right time to say goodbye and always time to say see you later. Even though later will likely never come.
The universe is showing me that there is a difference between value and worth. I have never been good at distinguishing these. Often I keep things because they “might be worth something.” (to someone else) Ah, but value… value is determined by me. The purging, packing and moving has insisted I declare it. What do I value so greatly that I want to take it with me? How can I help it live on? These things …
- I share. Things I share live on in the life of the other.
- I photograph. These allow me to recall and remember.
- I tell. Words expressed live on in the heart of the other.
- I hug. Sentiments conveyed live on in the body of the other.
- I thank. Gratitude completes what the heart knows.
- I give. A gift keeps on giving in and through the other.
- I save. Things that tell our story in a unique way reverberate.
- I collect. Remembrances with deep meaning go with me.
- I pray, over the house and its rooms, claiming its blessings and sending them on.
- I depart, trusting that closing this front door will allow me to the open the next.
Few things in life are mentally, physically and emotionally taxing all at the same time. Moving out of your home and your community is one of these things, and I am trying to remember that it’s okay to take care of myself while recovering from the taxing trifecta.
Funny, just when I begin to think of myself as nearly there, God shows me how far I have yet to go. Wendy, Wendy, you hold onto so many things. There is only one thing you need to hold onto and it is already holding onto you.
Saying goodbye to what we truly love is so very hard. Ah, but something of deep abiding value… that has worth always. It resides in us, stays with us, has life in us. Always.
It’s a season of subtracting for me.
I’ve spent a lifetime accumulating. Collecting books, papers, files, friends, travels, vehicles, a home, a church, jobs and a few paychecks. I have a lot, just not a lot to show for it. I invested a lot of myself in the doing, but from the distance of years, it diminishes.
I rifle through boxes of “the kept.” Don’t need this. I’ll never use this again. Get rid of it, recycle it, leave it behind. Anything I won’t use again is set adrift. Amazing how this season is upon me. Everything that I wouldn’t pack up in a moving box is fair game.
All except the things that are heavy with memories. The rings that mom and dad exchanged on their wedding day. The book that Grandpa wrote. The birthday card my daughter made. And photos. Oh, the photos. These things have the power to tap into memories I didn’t know I had. That circuitry holds all I’ve ever done and, blessedly, has sifted, sorted and centrifuged it into one solitary particle.
That particle is impossibly dense, yet imperceptibly heavy. It’s the lightest thing in the world to carry. It goes anywhere you go and its no burden at all to bear.
All that I have ever loved is there.
Not what I’ve learned or done. Not what I have said or meant to say. Not what I’ve found or lost. By all accounts it is nothing. Yet, it is everything. It has complete power over me. And it empowers me.
“Just go!” it says, “You’ve got everything you need! We’ve seen to that.”
I’m beginning to believe it.
Letting go of what lies behind, I reach toward what lies ahead. How silly I would look toting a suitcase.