One of the things I’ve had trouble facing for the past 15 months is cleaning out my late husbands room and his things. At first it was the emotional heart tug that got to me, now it’s mainly because I find it totally overwhelming. I’ve been praying about this, and praying and praying. I know I need to face this project, and I truly would like to be able to use that room. I can envision a lovely craft room in there. It already has a work table and a desk. Yet, I never seem to find the energy to get in there and get the cleaning done.
Recently this idea popped into my head: toss something away every day. Just one thing, or one small stack of things. I began today, and I started with something in my closet. Yeah, I know that’s not “his” room, but he would approve. Trust me on this.
See (well, actually you can see because I took photos – har har) this ripped package has been living in the closet for almost 10 years now (and it was totally covered in dust when I touched it today. Achoo!). The paper became ripped as we removed it from the moving box in May 2006, and since it’s not obvious what is in that dusty paper: it’s Santa in his glittered covered sleigh with reindeer and the sleigh is filled with packages and a small tree—it really was pretty. I had visions of hanging this up every Christmas, but M absolutely refused to hang it up until I cleaned it up.
“But … but … my mom made this when I was only 8 years old (translation: it’s now 58 years old) and I can’t change it!”
M was unwavering in his stand: it wouldn’t hang in our nice new, clean home until it was also clean, so it stayed in the paper. I simply couldn’t bring myself to fix it up.
Do you notice a pattern here? I have always had issues with hanging onto “things” because someone I loved made it, read it, enjoyed it, or maybe even hated it but couldn’t get rid of it either. Yeah, I come from a long line of collectors of stuff. I’m aware that hanging on to all of these “things” carries an emotional, spiritual and perhaps even physical price. They tug at my heart and it’s not always a good tug as it can plunge me into sadness. At times they cause me to turn my eyes on the things of this world, instead of on my Savior. Plus they are a hazard, as I can barely move in M’s room without tripping on something. I don’t need to find myself on the floor with a busted bone! Anyhow, back to my project.
If you look at the close up of “Santa”, you’ll notice his disgustingly brown beard, and his suit appears orange-brown instead of red. You can also see what looks like dirt on the reindeer. Folks, while there is dirt there, what you are looking at is nicotine! (My mom was heavy smoker). Disgusting, isn’t it? Worse, after 16 years away from cigarettes, this whole collection of sleigh, packages, “Santa” and reindeers STINK! Yes, they still stink of nicotine. Just think: I’ve been letting this stuff slowly ooze into the clean air in my home. Stupid. It’s also obvious to me that no amount of cleaning up and fixing is going to make this truly useable.
So today the toss and give project begins. One item in the trash each day, and one item in the give away bag each day as well. My first give away is a set of sheets that I can’t stand looking at because they were a favorite of M’s and the last sheets he slept on; and Santa is now in the trash bag.
“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”—Colossians 3:2
Strangely, as I placed these two items in their appropriate bags I heard this applause from somewhere. I’m sure it was M.