Thursday, August 19, 2010

the urge to purge!

 This is from a homeschooling group I subscribe to and I thought it was lovely...but then again, I frequently have the "urge to purge"!  A touching story...
  When I was 5, my father left and I didn't see him for a long time. I missed him so much and longed for him. I cried myself to sleep so many nights. When I was 8 he brought me a music box from Okinawa, Japan. From then until I was about 16 I listened to it every night and thought about him. After age 16, I decided it was bringing me down to continue like that and I put it away. But I kept it with me, year after year, move after move and it always stayed near. It had become my replacement for him. Sometimes I would get it out, wind it up and listen to it. But I had to be in a good place because it would really hurt.
  When I was 38 and still estranged from my father Hurricane Ivan (the year before Katrina) blew into my world. It took out several out buildings and all the items from them were strewn as far as I could see. It looked like tossed salad, debris everywhere. I stepped onto the grass and leaned down and saw a piece of the music box. I had no idea it was in this building. I just knew it was in the top of my closet. But, no, here was a piece of it. I looked around and saw more and more pieces of it. I dropped to the wet soggy ground and held the pieces in my hand and cried. I HATED this hurricane and my father for being gone and for doing this to me. I was truly broken now. My heart physically ached. But then suddenly like a brick upside my head, I had one of those ah ha moments.
  I was the problem.
  He had tried to reach out to me several years before and I ignored him. I was the problem, refusing to deal with the tough reality of forgiveness and choosing instead to cling to this inanimate object. I knew that my lesson was to let go. The things you own, end up owning you. I knew I had to embark on the journey of making peace with my father and letting the old identity of abandoned daughter, go. I had to grow up and replace that beautiful music box with a beautiful relationship with him. It wasn't easy and we both worked at it but over the years we developed something I would gladly trade any music box for. Holding him is much more wonderful than listening to that music.
  So today I find myself having just had probably the largest yard sale I've ever had. I let go of things that I could easily have decided that I can use. But I learned that purging, really purging, traveling light, creates a feeling that's indescribable. I see that owning lots of stuff makes you have to lug it around, store it, maintain it, it becomes a chain around your ankles. The joy at the yard sale of seeing people's eyes at the ridiculously low price and getting things they really needed for so cheap, was the most amazing experience. Instead of putting prices on everything, I asked them what they thought it was worth. And whatever they said, I said "sold". My husband got into it too and sold a nice large table saw for 5 bucks. Watching our things march away in droves and the driveway slowly become empty wasn't the least bit upsetting. And we now had freed up the $50 a month to the storage unit place. I have lots of empty drawers at home and the empty storage bins are stacked up. And best of all, I made $200 that I gave my husband toward replacing his camera that was stolen. His passion is photography and now we are one step closer to having him back in his element.
  But the biggest surprise is how wonderful and light I feel. I am giddy with freedom. I really have so few things left and I feel so happy about that. Are you feeling the need to purge lately? It seems like many of us are. Are you clinging to "things?" Are they going to be able to replace that person who gave it to you? Can you get by, do you have the ability to make do without it? Then perhaps someone else could really use it. After our yard sale, my husband started going through all his old stuff he has been hanging onto. It was nice to see him let go of things that belonged to his father, things from his childhood, things that no longer served a purpose. I sat with him last night and watched him move through his process, sorting what goes and what stays. He woke up different this morning. He seemed lighter and happier.
  I continued today, listing lots of stuff on facebook and the items are going quickly to homes that will use them.
  This process has created love and given love and freedom that affected not just us, but all the other people who needed what we set free. What can you let go of? I wish you discernment and peace.


  1. What can I let go of? Lots and lots of stuff. What should I get rid of? Even more lots of stuff. Will I? Well, sheer laziness and lack of organization are more of an impediment than anything else but I've been wishing for a lightening bolt of something to get me up and going -thanks for sharing this inspiring story!

  2. You might try clothing moths...or food moths (we're trying this now with great purging results). These are tried and true lightening bolts in my house--though I might describe it more like a prolonged electrocution...I'd do just about anything to make my moth nightmare stop!

  3. i was just thinking about this.
    I am in desparate need of a purge, i loved that story! thanks!
    sorry bout the moths :(

  4. I too am a wanna be purger of stuff. I'd like to take black plastic bags into each room and fill them up. Hey wait, that's an excellent idea. The trick is what to do with them afterwards. I think that's what's stopped me. I think. Maybe, it's inertia.

    oh no! not more moths. I am sorry to hear that.