We've all heard the sayings about life and balance blah blah blah. But when we come to those hard spots in our life, it truly is a balance of holding on and letting go.
After living so long in the same home, the clutter and baggage of a big family finally became too much recently and I began a radical purge of "stuff". Or at least I began to fantasize about a radical purge. The reality was less simple. Having been blessed with a big family the clutter accumulates rapidly and when it comes to deciding what stays and what goes, it becomes a heart string tug-o-war. How do you throw out those gifts your grandkids lovingly and proudly chose from the school store? The spontaneous purchases I've made that I never use and more importantly, had no place to store, are easier to deal with than the little red plastic garbage can with "Grampa" decaled in black lettering. That's another story, the lid opens and he can store "stuff" inside!
It took a complete stranger- Marie Kondo, and her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up- to give me permission to chuck it out and ask questions later. One woman's junk is another woman's treasure right? Once the "stuff" is gone and out of sight you never miss it...until you do. Again the key word today is balance rather than radical. If you get over zealous you could find yourself rebuying the 8 cup pyrex pitcher. Turns out I do need 2 of those.
This balance of holding on and letting go runs deeper than our stuff and especially when it comes to relationships, it gets messy and very very hard. One of my own baby chicks recently made a big, difficult, decision to fly away from our proverbial nest and move to the far reaches of the east coast. As a mama I always hoped to raise strong, independent people who would always be encouraged to follow their dreams, and more importantly to follow where God leads them. Sounds good in theory but when that calling takes them 2,221 miles away...well that kind of stinks. Try as I might to bury my head in the sand, using my default setting of deny, deny, deny, they still left!! Worse yet, they took 4 of my grandkids. WTH?? When she announced this plan I told her I supported her 1000% but please don't talk to me about it. Now they're gone and I miss the conversations we didn't have. This isn't a tragedy, it's a new adventure. I know people who are experiencing life altering grief. This isn't that, but none of us here on our familial hill were prepared for the void this adventure would create. They are out of sight and we are missing them terribly.
It doesn't matter why a heart aches. But I think it matters how we respond to the pain. I've had a few days of ugly crying. You have to feel the pain to heal the pain right? But yesterday a dear friend brought me the book Seeing Beautiful Again by Lisa Terkeurst (I highly recommend this read). In it she says: "In the middle of pain you didn't cause, the change you didn't want, or the reality you didn't know was coming...your life can still be beautiful. Because with God, there's always more than we see being worked out behind the scenes.
When I allow my perspective to run amok I get a little annoyed with so many opportunities to pull up my big-girl underpants and find the balance to put one foot in front of the other and stay on the tight-rope. But I am learning that holding on doesn't mean a white knuckle grip and letting go doesn't mean losing someone forever...it just means balance.
PS- I'm keeping the little red garbage can❤️