A crash course in letting go

Two weeks ago, I had a plan. A blog post every day of the week because I felt I had so much to say and I was learning some things worth sharing.

Then this happened.

The rains came down and the floods came up. Thirty inches of water in our basement turned our world upside down. Maybe that’s a little dramatic. Others have it worse. We are blessed. And God is good. I don’t doubt either of those things for a minute.

But life is, let’s say, overwhelming at the moment.

What started as an inch of water quickly escalated after the town’s leaders decided to cut power to the power station when it flooded. Our sump pump, which was diligently working while we slept, stopped when the power did. Thus, the indoor swimming pool in our basement.

We didn’t lose as much as we could have nor anything we consider extremely valuable. But loss is loss and it hurts nonetheless. Perhaps the biggest loss I discovered this week was all of my high school and college yearbooks. This didn’t matter as much to my husband, and I’m not sure why it matters so much to me. Nostalgia. Memories. These are the things that get me in trouble sometimes because I hold on to things that should have long been thrown away.

We’re still going through stuff, drying it out and finding ways to get rid of it. We’ve been collectors for too long. Clutter seems to follow us. I’m always saving things for later. (Like the mound of empty cardboard boxes that were in the basement for our eventual move next summer. Gone.) 

God, it would seem, helped us clear things out sooner than we’d hoped. (I’m not suggesting He caused the flood to punish us or anyone else. Just want to get that out there.)

Where I once stockpiled, I now find myself with an urge to rid our house of everything we’re not using RIGHT NOW. I have more than three years worth of kids clothes that will be finding a new home in the next several months, and even though it’s been years since my daughter wore some of her things, I still feel pangs of guilt as I toss them into a “to sell” tote. (I’m convinced guilt is a by-product of giving birth to children. I’ve never felt so guilty about everyday actions the way I have since becoming a mother. Is anyone else with me on this?)

My husband and I have talked about the desire to live more simply, but until now our actions haven’t matched our words. It’s still hard to give things away or throw things away, thinking we might need it again someday. Even with the kids clothes. We’re not 100 percent sure we’re not going to have more kids, but we have no immediate plans for another one. Besides, kids clothes are abundant and grandparents love to shop. (At least our kids’ do.)

We have much. And what we give away could easily be replaced in the future.

The Bible tells us to store up treasures in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal. We are learning the reality of this principle. The reason so many of our stored items were in the basement is because a year ago, we had a mold problem in the attic and had to move everything out of the attic to the basement so the mold could be removed. We never moved our stuff back upstairs because we didn’t think we’d need to.

The water line

Treasures in heaven — where mold and flood cannot destroy.

After the fire department pumped us out.

Charlie Sheen made popular the idea of “winning.” I still don’t get it. Our family is experiencing a season of “losing.” At least in the earthly sense.

Elsewhere in the Bible, Jesus tells his followers that those who lose and give up for Him will gain in the long run. I’ve heard it called  “winning through losing.”

It’s not as glamorous as it might sound. Some days, it really stinks. My hope is that because of this, we’ll be better off.

Not wealthy in goods, but rich in what really matters.


One thought on “A crash course in letting go

  1. Pingback: We went to Colorado and caught a serious case of fever « The Home Front

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