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Letting Go: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

July 2, 2014

I would like to say that the actual exercise of downsizing has been liberating, fun and awesome, but I can tell you that it’s painful, a struggle and somewhat depressing.

I attended a Eucharistic Healing Mass last Friday evening to celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The majority of my healing has come from Jesus in the Eucharist via His Most Sacred Heart. When I received a Eucharistic blessing, I expected nothing less than a moment of Divine Grace. Something must have clicked because I found the motivation to get things cleaned up.

What followed was a hurricane of activity and the hard reality of seeing the mountain of things I own. The clean up began with my books because one of my two bookshelves fell apart in transit from the kitchen to my bedroom. Books EVERYWHERE. So, with the help of a friend, we managed to bring everything into my room and made piles on the bed and everywhere else there was available space. My room remained in this state for a little while until Saturday, when I found myself perusing every book I have. I had a definite pile of books/collections to keep. Those went back on my newly cleaned up bookshelf. There was a definite stack of books to just give away. Then, there was the stack of “I’m-not-sure-if-I’m-gonna-need-this-but-I-haven’t-read-it-yet” books. This was more difficult to rationalize in either direction of keep or donate. The emotions I experienced that evening were worse than the anxiety I had experienced in whittling down my ridiculously large FB friend list…and those are people…not books. *sigh* I was reminded of this quote:

“People are made to be loved, things are made to be used, too often we love things and use people.” -Matthew Kelly

I don’t remember praying for an increase in humility, but there it was. In all its glory.

I realize I am a horrible friend. I don’t keep in touch with people well and I seem to collect things in place of building relationships with others. Maybe that is why I am in this place right now: recalibrating my heart to love people and use things.

I spent Sunday morning weeping over the state of my life, also missing a young lady who passed away a year ago on that date. We didn’t keep in touch during her college years, but when she returned, we had met up for coffee. We had a marvelous catch up and re-visited some shared experiences. I made sure to tell her to keep in touch with me and that my doors were always open to her. With a big hug and a smile, we parted. When I received the call that she had passed away in her sleep, about a year later, my heart was pierced. I should have checked in on her more often after that coffee date. She literally crossed my mind a couple of times but I didn’t act on those moments. I am sure I was just in the middle of my own mess and distracted. The guilt crashed around me as I bawled my eyes out. I have learned a lot from this young lady in the short 23 years of her life, but even more so after her passing. I hate that I missed the boat while she was alive to tell her how amazing she is. All I have now I just the memory of her incredible presence and how she managed to be the same person to all who knew her, no matter what the platform was. In the short time she was here on this earth, SHE LIVED. She didn’t get caught up in her possessions or wasted her time online. She was PRESENT to all she came in contact with.

I wept because I realize that there is more to life than the books and the various items I own. There is more to life than the amount of friends that I have on my FB page. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn. The one with the most toys doesn’t win in the end. The one with the biggest entourages doesn’t win, either. Life is more about the people I am blessed to know in person and how we help each other to become the best versions of ourselves.

So as I continue to purge my belongings, I offer up prayers:

1. in thanksgiving for those who have gifted me with beautiful things and words of encouragement

2. for the many hands who brought these things into my world from the manufacturers to those who sell such items

3. for discernment on who could use these things better than I

Thank you to those who have helped me process letting go. I pray in thanksgiving for each of you, too! Happy purging, all y’all!

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