Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Stumbling forward

"All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on."
Havelock Ellis

I sometimes joke and say that I am one take-out container shy of being on the show "Hoarders".  It's not that bad, but I do have a lot of stuff.  Way too much stuff.  Stuff that is getting in the way of living the life I feel I am meant to live.   The life God wants me to live. 

Now knowing this is one thing, but doing something about it is an entirely different matter all together.  I don't wanna get rid of all of my stuff.  Oh, there is plenty I could part with easily.  Kitchen stuff that I haven't used for years could leave without a moment of angst.  Old clothes could be donated to the local thrift shop with ease.  Outgrown toys might cause a tear or two as I reminisce and think about my littles growing up, but I could get rid of those too.  It wouldn't be easy, but I could do it with a little push.  Unfortunately, those things are just the tip of the iceberg in the sea of stuff I am swimming in.

There are the scrapbooking supplies I have "collected" for years with every intention of making scrapbooks chronicling my littles' lives.  How can I just toss those?  Or the plethora of vintage glassware and dishes I envision using someday at an open house I throw for family and friends?  Never mind I have far more dishes than family and/or friends --- I could have more someday. 

There's also all the things that have come into my home as the result of being the unofficial curators of all family memorabilia and all things too vintage for someone else to throw out.  This list includes the dinette set my parents bought when they got married 68 years ago,  the retro dinette set a cousin passed on to us when cleaning out her parents house, an antique oak table and chairs my mother-in-law no longer had room for in her home, a table made by my great-grandfather that I inherited when my grandfather passed away, a vintage porcelain laundry table the Geek and I bought when we first got married and another cute little porcelain table we bought years ago because it was just too cute to pass up.  Clearly waaaaaaaaay too many tables for one household, yet each one would pain me to give away.

There are many more examples of items with real and/or perceived worth that would be hard to part with.    Holiday decorations, books, and vintage linens are just a few of the collections of things taking up more than their fair share of real estate in the ol' farmhouse.  Every nook and cranny, every flat surface and every bookcase is full to the brim with stuff --- stuff I am reluctant to let go of  for a variety of reasons.

I know something has to give, but I am overwhelmed.  I have tried to tackle the monumental task of bringing peace to my home through simplifying our possessions.  Despite good intentions, however, the enormity of the amount of work that needs to be done ends up getting the best of me.  I am now at the point where I can't even begin to decide where to start. 

Remember that circle of friends that recently embraced me?  That clan I needed even though I may have thought I didn't?  Well, it just so happens that simplifying lives of others is another one of their many  God-given talents.  They have the gift of knowing that the value of life lies not in material things, but rather in memories.  They know personally the freedom of living a simplified life.  They live in homes that are havens.  Homes free from the chaos of too much stuff. 

Some of them have come by their gift of simplification by birth and others have learned it the hard way.  No matter how the ability was gleaned, they are willing to pass on their know-how freely and without judgment.  I am humbled once again by a Heavenly Father who knows my needs and supplies me with answers I didn't even know I was seeking.

“It doesn’t matter where you are, you are nowhere compared to where you can go.”
Bob Proctor
I have so far to go to make my home the haven it should be, but I am taking the first steps.   These awesome ladies are willing to help as little or as much as I need, one even offered to come over and perform "hard labor" if desired.   I am not ready for that yet, but willingly accepted the offer to help me break down the tasks in to manageable "bite-sized" pieces and to hold me accountable for completing those pieces weekly.  No more excuses, just baby steps forward.

Baby steps.  Sometimes it's the best we can do.

“Even if you stumble, you’re still moving forward.”
Author Unknown

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