As a military wife, and by experiencing the first few years of a mothering journey, I have changed considerably from the totally type-A, unbending, unyielding, sometimes self-loathing perfectionist I once was. I think back to my teenage days and I wish I could grab myself and tell myself what I know now.
Because slimming down our household goods in preparation for our upcoming military PCS from Maine to Kodiak Island, Alaska. . . it has got me thinking about how much I have learned about letting go – - – of things and of thoughts. How much I have grown and changed, just in a few years, through military life and motherhood, and by allowing others to teach me how to let go – -
It’s amazing how many things I can stash in a closet. I used to save every photo, every card, cut out articles from the paper, and ripped out pages from magazines that I wanted to use. . . sometime in the future. My husband has since reformed my ways, and gotten me to let go of my clippings, random photos of people we don’t even know anymore, and has even gotten me to recycle my binder full of ripped out magazine pages – showing me that I can get my Martha Stewart and Health magazine articles on my iPad and “save a zillion trees” in the process.
As we cleaned out the upstairs storage closet before he left for this current assignment with his boat, I felt very accomplished as well as very amazed at what had collected in the closet while we’ve lived here in Maine for 3 years. I was able to donate a whole paper grocery bag full of fully prepared paper crafts that I had made for a TAHOMA Christmas party that was attended by, um, no one, the first winter we were here to someone who could use them. We also went through my old papers from high school, on topics from The Great Gatsby to a personal essay, to Like Water for Chocolate, and even an AP statistics paper. I was holding onto them . . . I’m not sure why.
Maybe it was me holding on tightly to something that reminded me of home, since our military life had moved me so far from my parents’ house and the city I grew up and matured in.
As we read the papers together, we giggled a bit at my writing voice, even in the most studious of papers. We read the scribbled notations and edits from my beloved Junior year English teacher and I explained to Hubs how much I looked up to her, and wanted to write the best paper to please her. He could tell that I was feeling maybe a bit self-conscious about letting go of a time when studying and excelling at writing was most of my life.
And then he told me how amazing it is that I parent our two babies, manage the house, and still somehow blog, sew diapers, AND take college courses full time. And I realized. I could let go of my Junior year of high school. I’m bigger and better now. So into the recycling they went.
And another box bit the dust.
Thoughts are a little harder to get rid of. Those thoughts that you would like to throw out seem to stick and stick and stick, even as you try to scrape them off your heart. And then, I learned what it truly means to forgive. And to grow forward from thoughts that are painful. And that made me, friends, the brillo pad of bad thoughts. Scrape them right off, when I remember how to forgive and to trust and give up the issue to God.
I have been insanely blessed to have met and spent a lot of time with a certain friend here in our neighborhood in Maine. And through our friendship, I have learned that forgiving isn’t losing, even though it feels like it sometimes. Last summer, there was an ordeal with a lady in the neighborhood that used to be a close friend. Long story short, I criticized her in a friendly manner regarding how exclusive and controlling she was being. And it started a crazy-fest that you can read about if you like.
The point is that I have forgiven her. And it feels SO good. Letting go of that hatred for the evil in her heart toward me has been so freeing. I never thought I could do it. What she did seemed so unforgivable. But through my relationship with my dear friend Jess, I have been molded through experience and truth from God’s Word to understand that forgiveness is not surrender in the traditional sense. You don’t lose when you forgive – on the contrary. It is a huge weight off my life to have forgiven her. And in the same way, I’m learning to forgive others and myself as well!
Forgiveness is really amazing in de-cluttering and getting rid of ugly thoughts.
Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are incorporating simple living into their lives by clearing out the clutter. We hope you will join us next month, as the Simply Living Blog Carnival focuses on Going Green!
- De-Cluttering and Moving to Minimalism – Laura from Authentic Parenting is actively trying to achieve a more balanced life by giving up the things in order to make room for more enjoyment.
- A Minimalist Clutter Bug – Destany at They Are All of Me writes about the daunting task of clearing away years of clutter brought on by disorganization and a dislike for throwing things away.
- The Pack Rat Stops Here – Mercedes at Project Procrastinot doesn’t want her twins to inherit the pack rat legacy but is uncertain how to lead by example.
- Clutter Minimized – Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how minimizing different aspects of her life and household have changed her life.
- Uncluttering Childhood – Are fewer toys and books harmful for your child? Does simplifying the stuff in your life, merely mean faster clean up? Find out if “less” is truly “more” for parents and kids alike at Heart-Led Parenting.
- Lagom – Sustainablemum shares her family’s search for balance in decluttering their home and their lives.
- Letting Go – Of Things and Thoughts – Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work rejoices in her ability to allow others to teach her to let go – of things and of thoughts.
- From Cluttered to Clutter Free – Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses the changes she went through from growing up in a cluttered household to becoming a decluttering diva.
- Facing the emotional roadblocks of clearing clutter – We all have reasons we hold on tightly to our stuff. Lauren at Hobo Mama offers advice for breaking through those walls.
- Spring Cleaning with Freecycle – Amy at Anktangle shares how her spring cleaning ritual has become much more fun (and productive!) since she’s embraced her local Freecycle community and all it stands for.