This is actually where it all began. The Uncluttered Life journey, that is. It’s been a year and half since I was taken out of the big work world. Now, just for the record, my intent isn’t to start this off on a negative tone. I’ve gotten past all of that, but recently, I realized the lasting affect it’s had on me. I have since come to terms with that big movement in my life and have embraced – and LOVE! – this new place in my life that I’m in. I’m only sharing that little blurb because it sets the picture of how this all came to be.
Back then I regularly dressed in slacks, skirts, blouses, cute shoes, matching purse, and all of the adornments that pulled the entire outfit together. When that part of my life ended, I put all of those things away. It was as if a part of me was gone and I associated these things with the person I “was.” My slacks were shoved to the back of my armoire. My skirts and blouses remained hanging in the closet, collecting dust. My shoes were all tossed to the closet floor and changed out for flip-flops and slip-on tennies. Beautiful purses were shoved into a box in the corner of the room. And my adornments…I kept only a few things out and dumped everything else into a big box lid and shoved it under my bed, where my toes have kicked it ever since.
I put a part of myself away. A cluttered mind and heart, I’d say…
So after kicking this box lid for the five hundredth and fifty-first time, I decided it was time to pull it back to the surface and go through it all. You know how we all have that big ol’ ball of Christmas lights to untangle in December? Well…that’s a good picture of what this looked liked. I cleared my dining room table and brought every single piece of jewelry out and began the four-hour task of dusting, untangling and sorting. Yep…four hours.
It’s interesting the pull of emotions that came with this task. It brought back a painful memory for me, but also a new excitement for a life that I have embraced and love. I truly have the fondest of memories for those years of my life and I allowed a moment to kind of snuff it out – and to snuff out a little flame in my heart. Pretty jewelry, tangled and dusty, was the perfect reflection of that little area I had tucked away. I wanted that piece of me back again.
I decided, as I was conquering this huge task, that I would do my best to be brutal. I could only commit to “do my best” because well..I do love jewelry. To me, it’s like the signature on a painting; the final touch. Beside me was a bag, to put everything that I didn’t love or that needed repair and couldn’t be fix on the spot. I wasn’t going to keep anything that was not useful in this moment.
For three days I kept this now untangled, sorted, and sparkling collection on display in my dining room. When my kids and grandkids would stop by, they were shocked by the amount that I still had…even after filling a decent sized bag with the items I wouldn’t be keeping. It wasn’t on display for them as a “look what I have!” sort of thing. No, it was for me. There was something painfully revealing in it all. Some sort of connection to a part of my heart that needed to be faced and revived. I suppose one would think it crazy of me, but I spent a lot of time sitting there, looking at it all, touching, remembering…feeling.
Materially, I couldn’t help but feel shame in such a collection of stuff. I was probably everyone’s favorite person to invite to the jewelry party. I couldn’t help but wonder if having all of this was to fill a void I had then. I joked with my husband one Saturday morning over coffee and told him, “If you’re wondering what to buy me for any occasion; my birthday, Valentine’s Day, Christmas…DO NOT buy me jewelry. I think it would be best if you bought me therapy!!” We had a good laugh over that, but honestly, I think there’s some truth in it. Now, please don’t get me wrong. In telling you my little stories, I am in no way trying to say that we shouldn’t enjoy the fruits of our labor. But for me, this was excessive. Okay, maybe for anyone…this is excessive. Right?!
Spiritually, this day took on a deeper meaning inside of me. Just like these pretty items that were tossed in a box lid and pushed under a bed, so was the condition of my heart. Inside, I had a big part of me that was tangled, dusty and broken. My home, my jewelry, my clutter, was a direct reflection of what the outer me had become. I didn’t realize the rut I was in; jeans, frumpy t-shirts, and flip-flops had become my new uniform. I mean, we all love days dressed like this, but this really became a reflection of the inside me.
With the untangling, dusting and fixing of each pretty piece, it was as if these motions were doing the same inside of me. It was as if a part of me that lay dormant began to wake up again. I felt inspired to reclaim my life; what I was and what I am now! In spite of the daunting task, I felt a spark of excitement to MOVE!
While I had no idea I would need this in such a big way, God knew that this moment would approach. I’m left feeling thankful, even for that rough time of my life. I’m a very deep and passionate person. As I said yesterday, I only allow people to see what I want them to see. I’m a fighter at heart, so I always do my best to move forward and rarely allow people to see into the true depths of my heart. I am not one to reveal my pain and suffering. So while this might seem an odd realization about a pile of old jewelry, this was a deep picture of what God does in our lives. As I was lovingly cleaning pretty things, He was lovingly cleaning something pretty deep inside of me.
Do you see the relation there? I believe that our clutter is a direct reflection of something so much deeper inside of us that only He can fill.
So you might be wondering…”Well, what did you do with all of that jewelry?” Well, friends, I cleared off a lovely shelf that was overflowing with other clutter (more stories to come), found some pretty baskets, trinket boxes, and frames that I misplaced in another cluttered location 🙂 and put them on display where I can see them – and wear them! – every single day.
As you can see, it’s more than I could probably wear in a year, so the process isn’t over for me. But I’m going to allow these items to linger here for a while, as my heart continues to heal, feel, and reclaim its beauty from the inside out.
An aside: Do you have an excessive area that you collect? Is there a deeper void that you’re trying to fill? What needs to be untangled, dusted off, fixed and maybe even tossed, in your home and heart? The realization of this is your beginning to healing.
Up next…the clothes!!
Oh, I have so much more to share (with tips)… 🙂
*raising my cup of coffee to you*