The idea of moving to a place likely 1/2 the size of our spacious 4 bedroom house has been the driving force behind this spring's purging, not to mention the great need to clear out the clutter for showings.
This comes at a good time for me. I know, God's timing is perfect as usual. Just before the start of 2010, I read a decluttering article in Real Simple. One of the tips was as follows:
"Know Thyself. I liked to think of myself as someone who exercised every day by running on a giant motorized treadmill, read all the literary classics, and baked cookies for every special occasion. The reality? I am not a runner, I like to read pop fiction, and cookies aren't really my thing. The treadmill, the boxes of books, and some kitchen gadgets all found new homes."
This has become a bit of a mantra for me this year, to know the woman I really am, not the woman I sometimes imagine myself to be.
Somehow being an English major in college had me imagining that I love all the literary classics. So when I spent two months in England for student teaching I collected booklets from every author's house I visited. I had Shakespeare games no one would play with me, a wooden plate from Shakespeare's time, and a bunch of posters that I plastered my classroom wall with when I was teaching. I keep holding on to things like this in case I go back to teaching and because my time in England was a significant time of transformation in my life.
My reality? I doubt I'll ever go back to teaching, and I don't really like most souvenirs. The only thing I ever miss teaching it is the kids, and I believe God has and will continue to call me to other venues where my gift of working with kids can be better utilized. And even if I do teach again, Shakespeare honestly isn't on the top of my list of things all people must read in their lives. There are a lot more relevant ways to teach what needs taught. Regarding souvenirs, that time in England was significant regardless of the stuff I hold on too. More of my reality includes that fact that I am the worst read English major ever! I've only completely read 2 of Shakespeare's plays, despite taking an entire college course on only Shakespeare. I've never even read classics like The Scarlet Letter and only this year finally read To Kill A Mockingbird. So I'm finally letting go of things I've held on to for 3...5...8 years, things that I've hauled from classroom to classroom and house to house.
The most shocking (and ironic) thing about this deep purge? I have and continue to shed A LOT of stuff, but NONE of it is stuff I ever use or want, even if we were staying in our house. It's just baggage that is weighing me down, helping me cling to the facade of this imaginary woman in my head and shadowing the woman I really am, the woman God created and continues to shape. I feel no sense of loss, only freedom and excitement for what God has yet to come...