So many of life’s adventures involving letting go. Letting go of things I’d really rather cling to.
But something odd happens when I let go.
I find freedom.
Let Go of Stuff
Sometimes I look around my house and wonder.
Where did all this stuff come from?
The books. The cooking gadgets. The dishes. The clothes.
Not too long ago as I was bemoaning the fact I had nothing to wear, I decided to go through my drawers and closet.
It was like going on a treasure hunt. “This will be perfect with this..” I kept saying.
Amazing, the cute tops I found, shoved to the back or balled up in the bottom.
They were hiding behind all the things I wear over and over.
I couldn’t remember buying some of them. They were forgotten, lost under newer stuff. Part of me said, “get rid of them.” But another part couldn’t. How could I let go of brand new clothes?
Thankfully, I’m not the only one with this problem. A couple we know well described their own trials with stuff.
They’d go through a box together. He’d look at it all and see junk.
She, on the other hand, remembered how they got each piece, whether a souvenir of a trip, or a gift, and had some story about each one.
In frustration, he said, “Ever single piece. She’ll pick something up and tell some story about how Aunt Sally’s cat peed on it. Why do I care? We don’t need it. It’s all got to go.”
When you put it that way….
I now have three bags of clothes and shoes ready to go to charity. Once I finish the closet, I’ll tackle the kitchen. The boxes in the basement. And my overflowing file cabinets.
My husband says I can get rid of whatever I want to. As long as it’s not him.
Let Go of Offense
We went to dinner with some friends not too long ago. We agreed that they would pick us up.
Wanting to enjoy the fall colors in our yard, I went outside a few minutes early. Since it was 35 degrees and damp outside, I had on a scarf and gloves.
When our friends arrived, the first thing she said to me was, “Evelyn’s wearing gloves! In November! We were laughing!” She went on and on in that vein for a minute.
Finally, I pointed out that I didn’t want chapped hands, and besides, there was a time when people wore gloves all year round, to protect their hands.
For some reason, I had a hard time letting that go. She was mocking me for wearing gloves on a chilly night? Since when does she make the rules of when you can wear gloves? And why does she feel she can laugh at me because my hands are cold and hers are not? Does this make her feel superior in some way?
Is she still in fifth grade, or what?
Maybe I should ask myself the question.
I need to let her insulting comments go. She’s a woman battling a chronic illness. She’s probably having a hard time with the fact that I can walk unassisted. That she feels this as a competition or that she wants to drag me down is her problem, not mine.
I need to show mercy. And compassion. Then I can cast off the burden of unforgiveness and put my energies elsewhere. Just let the offense go.
Let Go of Regret
Almost three years ago, my brother died suddenly. We hadn’t been close since we were small. For the past nearly forty years, we’d lived in different states, far apart.
It wasn’t until he died, and I went through his things, listened to his music, talked with his co-workers, that I began to get a clearer picture of who he was.
And it hit me hard, how many common interests we shared. Books and reading at the top of the list, especially fantasy and science fiction. Music. Travel. So much we could have talked about, found a connection through, but rarely did.
Now I regret the conversations we could have had. Sometimes the regret hits hard, like a kick in the stomach.
There’s nothing I can do now. Except make sure I’m connecting with the people I have left in my life. To not settle for shallow and superficial conversations, but strive to know them well.
I’m learning that the letting go can free up space in my life, so I’m not buried under or owned by my possessions.
It can free me from the burden of unforgiveness.
And inspire me to do better by the people I love.