Posts Tagged ‘sorrow’

spring winds

March 5, 2012

March has arrived in all its blustery glory. The saying is that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Unfortunately, here in Nebraska, this lion is slow and grouchy and usually he crouches and leaps his way into April as well. Perhaps he eats the lamb, or frightens it into hiding, (although lambs aren’t smart enough to hide . . .) but I digress.

Even though March is still cold and the wind is annoyingly persistent, just the calendar turning from February to March brings me hope. Our wind chimes are being beaten to death, our stacked and covered yard furniture gets pushed along the porch, covers billowing loudly and our poor trees are being given a brutal lashing! The weather is nastier than all of December through February combined, minus the snow, but that could still come!  Even then, I’m hopeful because each day brings me one step closer to the warmth and flowering beauty of True Spring (which for me is warm 72-75 degree days, sunny, barely breezy and perfectly pleasant, which amounts to about 10 days total in a year, only making me savor them more!)

It seems my life has imitated the weather this year. My heart has taken a beating – losing my trainer, and then my brother; almost losing my other brother and all this after having lost my father a year ago. Life is hard; real life isn’t for wimps. It’s brutal sometimes and the winds feel as though they will be my undoing, but here I am, clinging to life. The sap inside begins to loosen, soften and flow and I find that warmth is returning to my spirit and life to my bones!

Springtime reminds me there is always hope. Life after death, songs after silence, laughter after tears. Life as it was may never be again, but life is still good despite it’s difficulty.

The advent of Spring always retrains my focus. It reminds me to look for the hopeful and celebrate the good. I will always remember the sorrow, but I choose to leave it behind and find new joy. As the crocuses sprout up and the forsythia bloom, my heart begins to delight in all things new and fresh and lovely as I anticipate the days of True Spring which will inevitably come!

clutter cure

April 12, 2010

Recently my husband and I have been watching a television show about people who hoard. It’s an enigma to me! I can’t relate. I’ve always been the one the family accuses of having thrown away whatever it is they are looking for! I’m the one who when cleaning out the refrigerator will toss the salad dressing if it’s the same month that they say to ‘use by’. I make regular trips to the local Goodwill store and donate all my cast-offs.

We watch the show where people can’t move around inside their homes, our eyes wide in amazement and disbelief. We hear people’s stories and ache with them at the losses incurred because of their hoarding. Boxes and bags and piles and clothing and trash, furniture and garage sale finds and who knows what else are all piled up so high it looks like the residue after a natural disaster. Family members refuse to visit. Friendships end because they can’t handle the truth that was kept hidden from them. Marriages are strained and even broken. It’s so very sad.

Some people never displayed the hoarding behavior until some grief happened in their life. Not knowing how to deal with it left them incapacitated or grasping for memories to hang on to. They felt safer when surrounded by stuff. Whatever the reason, they have found themselves in over their heads, literally and figuratively. They need help and have finally come face to face with it.

Every time I watch, I am moved to tears. Last night we watched one we’d taped earlier. Seeing the sorrow on the woman’s face and hearing her story of living in the same apartment she grew up in, her experience of starting projects and not finishing them but not wanting to part with them for whatever reason . . . oooooh, ouch, it started hitting a wee bit too close to home!

Maybe I can relate to her more than I’d like to admit!

I used to be the neatnik in the family. I was always cleaning up after everyone, which made my parents very happy, and my siblings irritated. Tidiness and order helped me feel good, secure, happy. I loved neatness and cleanliness; I still do. But children and busy lives, illness and grief, sorrow upon sorrow stack up much like the hoarders’ piles and who has the energy to clean? Who’s got the stamina to stick with a schedule of cleaning? Who wants more work when grief itself is more work than you or I have ever imagined? It’s absolutely draining.

I find now that I can understand how these people have gotten into such a situation. I can empathize.

I can understand grief. I can understand being overwhelmed with life. I can understand sorrow, depression, disappointment and wanting relief. I know what it is to want to ignore difficult things and anesthetize myself. My drug of choice is usually solitaire or other games to occupy my mind, but it could just as easily be shopping, collecting, hoarding….

So, I sit, watching someone else’s life and it helps me evaluate my own. It gently shows me how I have let certain things slip. It inspires me to not allow myself to fall into that black abyss of numbness and emotional hopelessness. I’ve teetered so close, and have even toppled over the side once, gripping the edge with everything I had, while others begged me desperately to hang on. So, I can relate after all.

I’m thankful that I have a relationship with God that gives me hope and encouragement even though I may be weary or discouraged. God is my security and provides help and comfort through his Word, and through people.  I’m very grateful to have the husband and children and friends that I do. They are such a support. They are love embodied. They are the ones who helped pull me out of the abyss.

I have to say, though, after watching that show last night, I got out of my chair and started tidying up!  This morning when I came downstairs, I tidied some more! I washed the trash can and wiped up the area under the sink that it occupies. I have a new resolve to put things away immediately instead of thinking to myself that I’ll do it later. I don’t want to end up picking my way through massive piles of belongings one day thinking, how on earth did I get here? How will I ever dig out?

I have more compassion, but I also have a heightened awareness and determination to never ‘go there.’ I will use this newfound resolve to my advantage! It will inspire me to stay on top of ‘things’ better!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go clean out a closet!