One night I watched a bunch of episodes online. I couldn’t stop. One would end and I’d click on to the next one. Some stories made me cry. I was moved by the lives of sweet ladies surrounded by piles of decaying things. I was moved by the series of events that led them to build their fortresses of things.
There’s a part of me that understands their illness. When I moved to the US, I brought three suitcases of clothes, shoes, books, a down-comforter (Aus: doona), my pillow, and quite a few special items of sentiment. I didn’t know if I would ever get to go back home. Those suitcases were packed so carefully. Each item had to compete for a spot in the case. In fact, the airline’s scale said my bags were heavier than my home scale so I had to ditch some things into my parent’s arms. It was quite traumatic to say goodbye to those things and to my family.
Those immigrant possessions are precious to me. They symbolize a life I struggle to remember. They remind me of my roots. They keep my heart connected to my family.
I’ve been here for 14 years now. Through that time those things that immigrated with me have dwindled. Some things lost (and I cried over my carelessness). Some things broken (and I cried over my clumsiness). Some things stolen (and I cried over my too-quick-to-trust ways). Some things released (and I smiled at my bravery). Some I still have. I think the most ridiculous thing is the sweater (Aus: jumper) I wore on the flight over. It’s out of style and I’ll never wear it but I can’t give it up. I hugged my family goodbye with that sweater. I dried my tears on the sleeves. I snuggled into it as I set off all alone.
The apartment we rent is on the market. This weekend there is a walk through. A reminder that we may be packing up our lives. No longer just three suitcases worth of things. Now an apartment full. No that’s not true… an apartment full AND a garage full.
I organize you and purge your things about four times a year. Each time my husband is amazed at my skills. Each time I’m amazed at all the stuff that accumulated since the last time. Where does this stuff come from???
It’s hard to let you go.
Baby clothes for my friends’ soon-to-arrive baby boy and twin baby girls. SO VERY HARD to let you go, baby clothes. I really thought we would be having another baby this year. Saying goodbye to these clothes feels like I’m letting this disease take over my life. But God is bigger. And if we do get to have another kid or two… He will provide. Bye-bye baby clothes. And while we’re at it… bye-bye maternity clothes. Ouch.
Bags and boxes of random things. Mason jars. Decorative shelving. Vases. Clothes. Candle holders. Photo Frames. Things. Things that are fun to have but not essential. Things that seem precious and important but aren’t. I hope the thrift store can sell them. And I hope they bring joy to someone’s life.
One of my dear friends came and helped today. I felt like someone on Hoarders. She was pushing me to make quick decisions. She was questioning my choices. She was in my business. She prayed for me and listened to me share story after story. I’m so grateful.
And she drove to the thrift store with the kids and I. How quickly the bags and boxes disappeared into the warehouse. My stuff is gone. Each item holds so many memories. They don’t know the value of what I just gave them. Ha ha. I can laugh at myself. I know those items have very little to no value. That’s why I know I’m doing ok. That’s how I know I don’t have a problem. But I’ve worked out who does…
Oh garage. I think you are a hoarder.
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Want to read through the Bible with me? Today’s Readings: Psalm 22; Luke 11:37-54