(Keep with me through this one… )
I approach spring days with mixed feelings. I love spring (it is tied with autumn as my favorite season)… I love watching flowers peek out and trees blossom and feeling the warmth of the sun. Yet spring also reminds me of one of the darker times of my life… when I spent what seemed like hours driving around town just to get an escape from life… when grief was overwhelming and song(s) sustained me. Seven years ago, I had a spare bedroom filled with junk… my dreams of turning it into a nursery had been delayed… and I suddenly had an emotional avalanche to cope with as well. Life wasn’t so great. Scratch that. Life was a disaster that kept seeming to only get worse. Despair and depression were my roommates… worry and anxiety cluttered my mind… and deliverance seemed far away. (Thankfully, deliverance did come. God-sent people from in town and across the world (love the internet!) helped there. Time does heal (or at least help) wounds as well… most of the time.) Life got brighter… even though there have been times in the years since that crises seemed unending, they haven’t approached that despair. I bring all of that up because it was at that time this post came to me… it has been waiting to be written (and then revised). I knew that my need to physically declutter my house was in large part a symbol of the emotional chaos going on inside… I felt I had little control of that chaos but I *did* have control over cleaning out that spare room. (I still think there is a connection to having an uncluttered physical space to live in and emotional peace… I have yet to completely attain either though!)
Today, I have this (mostly) adorable 4 year old running through my house (and interrupting my blogging time). I have another spare bedroom filled with… not junk… but possessions that need to be dealt with. I have a deluge of emotional debris from the last few years to sort through as well… losses of various sorts, some of which include gains as well. Both require adjustment. For now, I am trying to get through a little bit a day. I am trying to purge unused items from my house, clean what remains, and keep it that way. (Warning: viewing my house may make you doubt the previous statement. I promise progress is being made). After years of avoiding writing… because somehow I felt (even though I knew otherwise) if I didn’t acknowledge life I could pretend it wasn’t happening… and then some more years of writing but not really saying anything… I have come back to it (even daring to let people who really know me know of this blog!) I’m loving blogging and reading others blogs… and just having the opportunity to show a bit of myself in the moment. Not the professional persona I have had to wear at work. Not the smile I’ve (felt I) had to fake (even when I didn’t) at various churches over the years (though, thank goodness, not my current one). Just me, who sometimes has bad days (and, finally, more often, good). I am trying to clear my time of things that don’t matter to me (TV with the huge exception of LOST). I am trying (and feeling like I’m not succeeding very well) to enjoy this time I have with Andrew (the 4 year old). I’m trying to be in the moment more (4 year olds excel at that) and worry about the future less. Its tough. The problem with decluttering is that there are things I really don’t care about that are just necessary parts of life — cleaning the house… having tough conversations…. I’m struggling in this writing even with the metaphor of decluttering — the physical? the emotional? the simple or the complicated? But thinking right now… I struggle with that in life too. Going from living life to reflecting on life… to putting the results of those reflections back into action. Making decisions. A number of years ago I had the opportunity to help clear debris from a tornado in a town a few hours away. The job seemed unending. It seemed that surely my few hours of help would not make a difference. I haven’t been back to that town… but I’m pretty sure it is clear of debris and thriving. Sometimes dealing with physical and emotional clutter feels the same… does my little bit of effort make any difference? I have to keep reminding myself that my life 5 years from now is determined by what I do today (somewhat… I am too much of a cynic right now to feel I have complete control of that). I have to hope that over time these little changes will add up and life will be less cluttered — in all ways. Right now I’m taking a few first steps… I’m deciding to at least preview this blog post… enjoy the moment through a trip to the park… and then come back and decide whether to post this… or surrender to the doubt that someone else posted about today. Obviously if you are reading it I decided to post it.
Also… here’s a great list of helps in “mind decluttering” I came across… most of which I’ve learned through personal experience though I didn’t write this list. No use in me typing it out when someone has done it for me!