Friday, January 12, 2007

The Discomfort of Past Seasons

"No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62

This decluttering of our house feels freeing. And each day (or night) while I empty drawers and cupboards, the seasons of my life keep returning to me... and how there is a season for everything and a time to hold on and a time to let go.

The papers in dusty old files, well, they're simple to cast away, as well as the books I never loved enough to read over again (or ones I'll be able to find in most libraries) and the broken stuff, the ugly stuff, the so-so stuff, the junk (or clothes) I've outgrown or never loved in the first place (and should never have bought).

But it's the sentimental 'treasures' I'm finding hard to fling away--no shocking news to you who have ever tried to overhaul your possessions in search of a simpler life or in preparation to move. The board games you played with your children... the gifts from them and other relatives... the clothes or pillows you spent hours sewing... your fabric collection... the video tapes of tv shows you watched as a young family. You know, the sentimental flotsam and jetsam of a good life lived in one house for years. That's the kind of stuff you don't just drop into the Salvation Army box without a pensive pause.

But I've discovered something since December. This whole purging thing going on at my house, well, it's God's idea and His timing and so His grace is all over it.

I am not doing this alone.

No, this is a God-given goal, a season of its own, and there's such purpose in it, namely, the more I let go of, the more I am filled with a new sense of adventure. Of something undiscovered shining brightly up ahead, even though I can only see a glow up there and not anything specific. And I'll get there with a lighter heart if I lighten the load for the moving van--and my heart, too.

It's like our home movies of Naomi and a young Tom and Debra. Well, we seldom watch those. Why? It's simple to wander back to those years but it can feel downright difficult to leave them again. Perhaps because, when you go back, you find yourself in the old days, yes, but in an out of perspective way. The happy times can glow brighter than the bad times (or vice versa)... and the wisdom you have now (but lacked then) can color all you did --or could have done--had you known better. And you forget that you belonged in that past season so things felt one way--but here you are seasons and seasons later--and if you went back to live, nothing would feel or fit as well as it once did...

... to everything there is a season...

The most important days and parts and moments of my being a young wife and mother of a little child in years which now appear golden--they'll never be farther away than my own heart. I'll never forget those.

And I am finding that thought is helping me release the sentimental decor of the past seasons of my life so that I can, with a lighter load, move into the future and golden seasons yet to come.

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