Detachment, simplification, stuff

Oh hi, it's me again.  I've got a baby, and we made it through the first year of law school.  Trader Joe's is now open, and we haven't gone to Costco yet.  I'm mostly retired from massage now, and yeah here's another post.  #resurrectionnnn

Anyone who knows me knows that I have had a tendency to save (see this previous post that touches on the same subject).  A wristband from Battle of the Bands, a candy wrapper from a Valentine’s Day treat, a program from an okay dance recital, a birthday candle from my 19th birthday cupcake.  With each object, I remember each emotion and each person with whom I shared the memory of that object.  I had boxes filled with these random sentimental items.  Too many boxes.  If you asked me about anything in my saving boxes, I could tell you about it all without thinking too hard.

When we first were married, I was a little embarrassed bringing all this stuff into our home.  Not my home, OUR home.  Meaning two become one, and my good and bad stuff is yours and yours is mine.  So before my dear husband could say anything, I realized I needed to purge.  I couldn’t add my baggage to whatever he already had.

At first it was for his sake.  I didn’t want to burden him with my crap.  SO. MUCH. CRAP.  I threw out an old love note from middle school, a plastic lanyard from an old neighbor, a stack of animal calendar pictures [how the heck did they get those animals to sit still anyways…?!  They can’t even talk.], a crappy doodle done in stupid Latin class [still bitter about that teacher, still upset with myself for not being respectful, BUT still bitter about he trying to teach us via the immersion method].  I threw things out because I thought he would get upset, or make fun, if I kept them, which was a huge assumption to say the least.  Well the making fun part at least… ;)  I laughed or welled up with emotion as I took pictures of certain items and sent them to my friends and family.  I set things aside in a pile to look through “later.”

It was hard.  HARD Y’ALL.  I felt like I was breaking up with myself, betraying myself, my memories, my family, my friends.  I prayed a lot during those few days of “the purge,” asking God for the grace to let go.

Lord, please give me the grace to forgive myself for throwing away these notes from this and that person.

Lord, please give me the grace to remember this event as I throw out the physical reminder of it.

Lord, please give me the grace to get over myself.

Lord, would I be totally chill with myself if this burned in a fire?

Lord, why did I think this purge was a good idea?

Lord, maybe I’ll grab a snack and come back to this later….oh wait you thought I was serious? Well maybe a little bit. #jklol

I realized how pathetic it was to keep saving.  It was as if I thought I would lose the memories I had if I threw out the physical reminders of the memories.  My “boxes” had always stressed me out.  I loved the contents inside, but the whole ordeal of sorting and looking and adding to and taking away was a HUGE mental stress.  I would get overwhelmed talking about them, looking at them, and yes, moving them.  The more I threw away, the freer I felt.  At first it was as if pebbles were being lifted off my shoulders, and eventually those pebbles turned to boulders, and finally I was free to move.

I started keeping what was truly special, and threw out everything that, frankly, was not.  I realized I wanted to enjoy my memories, not be bogged down by them.  I realized that there was no point in keeping King Chaos locked away in a box, staring at me from the top shelves in our closet.  I also came to the reality that I would need to move these items each time we moved, and what was TRULY worth moving.  I started asking myself what I love, not what I should, used to, or might love.  Once I got to this point, I felt peace within my soul, and it was beautiful.

I had learned there is beauty in simplicity.  And simplicity doesn’t mean “nothing,” but detachment.  And detachment does not mean to do whatever with what you own because you don’t care, but to respect it in its own right, and to be okay if it burned in a fire.  It means to be intentional, and to discern.  It means thinking of your self less, as is the virtue of humility.

I have learned the joy that comes with letting go [becoming one with the wind and skyyyyyy…#betyoudidntexpectafrozenreference].  To find joy in what I do own, keep, and bring into my home comes from being objective and honest with myself, and that means swallowing my pride in order to do so.

Does this work with my curvy, short and goddess like body type?  [haaaahaaahaaa]

Do I ever want to listen to that random indie band from 2009? Who the heck are these artists even?  WHY IS AUDIO TAKING UP 394208085 GBS OF MY HARDDRIVE? [gag gag gag]

Did I actually like that stupid/depressing/dull/poorly written book?

Does this dress stress me out every time I look at it because I probably can’t even wear underwear while wearing it?

Do I reallllly need my files from my computer problem solving class that I didn’t really care about?  [big.fat.NO.]

Am I keeping this coat because it’s cute, without any regard to how it actually looks on me? 

Why do I need 50 headbands of every color, material, and width?
One of my recent purges, with Tom's hand for effect.

And yada yada yada.  It’s been good for me to realize that there is no point in being stressed if I can help it.  I want to be a great example to my son, and if that means breaking up with bad habits to form good ones so that he may watch and imitate, than so be it.  With my only child (currently) being six months old, now is the prime time to form good habits, as when I have (God willing) more children, it will not be as easy.

I will end with this quote from my man, Augustine of Hippo.  It’s relevant because the question we must ask ourselves is this: “What do I want to see when I look back over my day?  When I look around my home, when I walk in the door, when I evaluate stress factors.  What do I want to see?”  The answer should not be stuff, but the freedom from stuff so as to rest in the Lord.

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

Alexandra LemkeComment