And so I let things become a barrier to people - just so I don't get hurt again. Things can only comfort you. Honestly, how can an outfit that provoked countless compliments let you down? A snuggly stuffed animal not hug you back when you needed a hug most? A beautifully displayed piece of art not inspire when life did anything but? A favorite pair of jammies not instruct you to rest when your heart told you otherwise?
How could things like photos of days gone by not be reminders of good things to come? A favorite cookbook not anticipate your dream of the perfect dinner party for four? A pink carnation jewelry box not remind you of the fragrant flowers that grew in your garden while growing up? Things are there for you to enjoy....
Ahh....and so my confession began today with a deep realization that the tangible objects I hold onto that initially comforted me had a way of becoming a burden or a source of clutter in my life. Yes. I realized today that I had a bit more emotional attachment to the things in my life and I needed to let them go to make room for the things that God wanted me to enjoy.
Specifically, what triggered this confession today was a light blue plastic strainer that I had initially discovered in my then-fiance's kitchen cabinet when we first began planning our new life together. Seeing that blue strainer with new eyes today (2 Cor 4:4) I made a breakthrough and finally toyed with the idea of letting it go. However, instants after my resolve, I reasoned I could still use it for pasta and anything else that came my way. And illogically recalled that I had compiled the Wedding Registries (yes, I had several) sans pasta strainer or other. And it would be good for rinsing fruit. That strainer was sentimental to me. It was after all a valuable "pre" marriage item of which I had few.
Then the voice of reason, Christina, why are you hanging on to this "thing" that no longer has a place in your kitchen? The thousand cattle on the hill are mine and yours as well. Why do you continue to hoard when I give you your daily bread and so much more. Let it go....
Listening but with one foot in the land of "let it go" and the other in "keep it" territory I pause. Besides the plastic blue sentimental strainer I also owned a shiny stainless steel strainer. I view that light blue plastic strainer each time I pull out the shiny stainless silver strainer from afar. I stress the word "view" because I rarely use it. I had placed it out of reach yet in plain sight for a reason. I was comforted just knowing it was there. It reminded me of brighter, carefree days.
Fists slowly loosened as I spoke softly to the Lover of my soul. God, you know how I get attached to things. I got attached to it. I did not want to let it go because of the memory of seeing it in the kitchen of my husband-to-be. I got attached. Letting it go makes me sad.
He listened. He always does. His silence confirmed what I needed to do. He who speaks last loses - yeah yeah...
Recalling days gone by I have kept chewed up dog toys, an outfit I "found" in a consignment shop next door to my vet's office. My sweet girl Karamel sat in a cage awaiting her fate that day. That was the day I assumed she would be put down. I rushed her in on a very busy day at the vet's office. A Saturday in spring I remember it well. So many people in the waiting room - I stepped outside and saw the storefront. Lots of people in there too but I was able to grab a light blue sundress with sketched wildflowers and a collared v-neck off the hanger. It was mine! I didn't even try it on.
Heading home with my dog in the backseat, I was given good news. My dog could live a bit longer as we would be able to treat her heart with medicine so she could be with us awhile. I tried on that sundress that night and though it was a bit snug I decided to keep it and one day maybe cut it up and add it to my "quilt of many colors". I got attached to that sundress as it represented a bit of the joy I had in knowing my dog was spared that day. Needless to say, today I gave that sundress away. It was a "thing" I no longer needed. My Karamel deep in the dirt would not need a reminder of that day. I would not either. That day I was blessed with time. "Something" not to be taken lightly. The sundress someone else would enjoy.
I planted a seed one day. When I was nearly nine, I ate a peach. I hid the pit deep in the dirt and told no one. It was summer when I planted it, and Fall when I announced that the pit I had planted had sprouted, just to the left of the clothesline and directly east of the chain link fence which prevented dogs from entering our property.
My Mom didn't think that tiny tree would make it through that winter. I kept an eye on it and then announced it had budged through the snow and continued to thrive on into Spring. My peach tree survived . I was proud!
That spindly trunk reached up to the Heavens and produced a peach. Just one peach. My grandfather proposed we cut off half of the branch so it would concentrate it's energy on producing fruit instead of leaves but I said "No". I was not yet wise in the ways God produced fruit for those who will allow themselves to be pruned. I did not value the process of pruning.
"My" peach tree was beautiful but never did provide another peach. It was barren but green and alive.
I was not prepared for the day my father cut my peach tree down. Without warning. Without discussion. Without a second thought to my feelings. He removed it completely from where it had been. No explanation. No apology. Just a circle of dirt remained where it had been - the size of my hand that dirt remained. It had been hacked, uprooted and thrown away. Discarded as if had never been. Later that dreadful day, my father ignored my tears then mowed over that space leaving a shard of cut grass. It was barren. It was gone. A thing of the past. The grass cuttings that covered the dirt turned brown then blew away and green grass grew in its place.
Did I mourn? Did I cry? Did I wonder why something so important had been destroyed so easily? Yes, I did.
I had gotten attached to that tree and the promise it held. I had learned that something could come from a piece of fruit eaten in my hand to the hard ground and turn green. I confess today I still mourn the loss of that tree. My father knew what that peach tree meant to me. It represented hope and new life given to me to bury in the dirt in order to teach me the result of reaping and sowing. It ended in death. A sad lesson in pain.
Not Much Has Changed
Today, I realized I still struggled with attachment to "things" - people, places, objects. Things. For this reason I have placed the light blue plastic strainer in a bag which will be donated to someone in need. I enjoyed it. Time to let it go. I realized my unhealthy attachment and decided it was time to step out of my comfort zone.
I now see space in my cabinet where that friendly reminder of my fiance had been. Instead I must focus on the fact that the same fiance is now my husband and he provided a stainless steel strainer for which I am most appreciative.
I pray I don't stuff "something" there where that object had been. Things. Letting go. Remembering. Letting go. Sharing with others. Realizing "things" should not control us. We control them. Freedom comes in realizing God gave us many "things" to enjoy while we are here. We are to share with others so that they will come to understand the Giver of all things. Thus the imperative that I put that bag with the light blue plastic strainer in the car. Now. Before I put it back in the cupboard!
I will look for the good 1 Thessalonians 5:21 My mantra will be, "If it isn't Biblical and it brings emotional attachment that I no longer need, it goes to Goodwill. Someone will appreciate the "things" that no longer serve me."
Letting go is wise. Holding onto stuff is hoarding. The Lord has reminded me today - there are some "things" worth thinking about!!
Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, (can also refer to sisters too!!) whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - - think about such things.
On these "things" I will ponder. I confessed. God delivered. He provided a better way of thinking that has nothing to do with the past.
Thank you God for your Word and for helping me navigate around those things which eventually will cause me to stumble and miss Your plan for my life.
It all began with a confession. Today. Tomorrow. It does not matter. Get right with God. Be real. And He will address "anything" that comes between Him and you. Even if it is a dress you wore the day your dog was spared, a peach tree that was barren but beloved, or a light blue strainer that had been replaced with stainless steel. Talk to Him. He will help you Navigate Through Life....
Don't let anything come between you and God!