This month I have been consumed with a garage sale. The prep took 3 weeks of sorting, making decisions, and letting go. The actual sale was 3 days of sorting, making decisions, and letting go. It was all worth it, and now I am exhausted.
My girls don’t really play with toys anymore. When K was B’s age, she still did, but now B doesn’t, probably because she would have to play alone. It was sad to see some of the toys go, and others, like Monopoly Jr., I was ready to part with. The purge was big, the amount of trash and recycling was big too, and I am sure there is more to do.
I had a harder time letting go of picture books than the girls did. For me, many had so many memories of bedtime snuggles, giggles, and bonding. Some I had to keep. More I could finally add to the pile to give away.
Besides the need to rid our house of all the excess stuff, I was motivated for the sale because of my goal for this year. On my birthday, I kept hearing the song “Come and Find the Quiet Center” in my head. It is #2128 in The Faith We Sing, if you have that hymnal. You can listen to it here. Specifically, the lines from the first verse:
Clear the chaos and the clutter
Clear our eyes that we may see
All the things that really matter
Be at peace and simply be.
This is my intention for this trip around the sun. The garage sale was a step in clearing the clutter. It was shocking some of the things we found: an infant sled and swing in the attic! Things we thought we had already passed on to others. Broken toys that needed to be tossed. Puzzles that are way too easy for my teen and tween.
The chaos is going to be more challenging work. I want my mind to be less chaotic and more at peace. I have been in therapy off and on for twenty years. I highly recommend it!!! Therapy is my favorite, even when the sessions are tough. I am always learning. My current therapist and I have been working together for four years. While I can see my growth, some goals haven’t changed. I am certainly more at peace today than I was four years ago, but now I crave even more peace.
Two years ago I left my last ministry position. It was a necessary change for me personally and for my family, but it was tough. In many ways, I still grieve that choice, even though I know it was the right decision. The time has passed quickly. I am not ready to take on another position yet, nor do I have an idea of what my next employment will look like. This in-between unknowing creates chaos in my type one brain that wants to know everything yesterday.
I know I write a lot about grief, but there is a lot we are all grieving. Covid-life caused all of us much grief. Returning to “normal” has caused some of us grief, because it is a new normal, not a return to the ways things used to be, because we have changed and the world has changed. I’m even grieving toys and picture books, despite having not touched either in several years. It is the sign of a new stage. I love where we are, and yet I miss those little girls too. I miss the silly and the imaginations. I already miss summer, even though we have a few days left before school starts. I don’t miss the items we sold, and yet the process of the garage sale still caused grief.
The last two days I have been physically exhausted. It seems like I am more tired than should be normal. Of course I judge myself whenever I need that much rest, and then I worry I’m getting sick. In reality, I think I am recovering from the physical and social work of the sale, as well as all that grief. The joy of being rid of everything is certainly there too, but it was a lot of work to prep. I am not sure if I recommend it, only because of the amount of work. When I go downstairs now, I feel peaceful. We have cleared the clutter. The excess toys and furniture are gone and the room is open and feels bigger. I no longer feel stressed on my way to the laundry room. It was all worth it.
Do you have clutter you need to clear? In your house or your mind? What about chaos? I may be writing more about this as I continue to work on this goal. In the meantime, I’ll be humming and repeating “be at peace and simply be.”