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Friday, May 2, 2014

In Pursuit of Light Enough

In my second to last post, from only...say...six months ago. I wrote about stuff and the need to keep it light enough to travel. My mantra today is: Stay Light Enough to Travel and to Be a Blessing to Others. This is not as easy as it sounds.

Since that post a number of significant things have happened. My mama did die, just a few weeks after the last blog post. That merits a series of blog posts in itself, and I kept writing them in my head, but time to sit and write was fleeting. Maybe they will stay there and ferment for awhile and then appear.  My husband also got a job, which is rather life changing in a good kind of way -- Hooray income! And we also bought a new house and moved into it. With our stuff. And the stuff we shipped from Switzerland. And the stuff that waited patiently in our storage unit for three and a half years.  It was fun to open boxes not sure which group this stuff would be from, find homes for things and then to see our old stuff sitting right next to our new old stuff. I was quite pleased to see how well it all blended -- like maybe I have an intrinsic decorating style after all!

But still I thought often...Why did we keep all this stuff? For some things there's a good reason. I kept the crib my babies all slept in in hopes that one day I'll have a grandchild who can sleep in it and I can tell them stories of their mother or father. Other things I kept but in three years kids grow up. The toys that you play with when you are four aren't the same ones you play with when you are eight. Except for Duplos of course. We have a huuuuuge box full, and nothing one might say can convince the Papa that we shouldn't keep those for the grandchildren, too.  So I kept thinking, well, in this large house that God has given us for now, there's room enough to get it all out and see what we're dealing with and then we can sort and move along.

And then we added Grandma's stuff. Brother and his wife had been keeping it for the time being, but now they are preparing for a remodel. And we have the space. Woe betide those who have the space! So we have lots of boxes of rather vague contents. Lots of old family photographs and yearbooks. Some lovely old books. Lots of not lovely books. Family heirlooms and knick-knacks. Business correspondence from my great grandfather, the patriarch who got his entire family to move out from Vermont and set them up homesteading out in the San Juan Islands.

Some of it is quite interesting, and I keep wondering if the germs for another novel are hidden there somewhere. I'm sure they are, but I also wonder, is that the novel I want to write? I'm not sure. Maybe I want to clear out this space in my storage room and in my head so I can finish and sell the novel I have written. Again, it's that feeling of gratitude just riding the edge of feeling bogged down by all the family history.

In one box, there were some letters and papers all neatly tied together with string and with a label in my Grandma Leda's handwriting:  "little red table." As they were letters addressed to her mother and given the date, I deduce that when her mother passed away, she tidied up and put those letters, neatly labeled into a box to sort later. Hmmm. As my husband said, "Well, now it's later." I can't help being a little miffed at the two generations before me who could have dealt with this sooner. It's not like I don't have more children than either of them did. What shall I do? I could just rewrap them up with another neatly written label, "From Grandma's Stuff -- to sort later -- like in 2050." But that just doesn't seem like the kindest thing to do if I love my children. And I do.

So slowly and surely I will try to work my way through. It's hard though. Some things are museum worthy. Many are not. How to tell the difference and how much time to spend on it.

But this afternoon I did manage to take four boxes to donation. Unless I'm mistaken, nothing museum-worthy there, but possibly real -ife-worthy to an intrepid thrift shopper. And that little accomplishment feels wonderful and makes me ready to sort some more.


  1. Wonderful to see some pieces of this past year coming out here!! Such a good and healthy thing! Love you!! xo

  2. But the labeled bundles are already a legacy. I think you could make it continue on and it could be a beautiful thing. Love your writing as always.

  3. A huge part of life seems to be about what to hold and what to let go. I mean, I've always been told (more-or-less), "You may wish you'd kept something, but it's far better to have gotten rid of it and then wish for it, then to be sitting with piles of stuff you (and others) will never be able to get rid of just because you've had it so long." :-) It's hard to reach forward when your hands are full of what's behind. At the same time (of course), our lives are always building on that past. (Wow, that sounds a little Philippians-ish. Complete accident. ;-))

    Anyhow, it's so wonderful to hear you again! :-) I've been thinking about you often... I know for a while everything was happening all at once. And I can't wait to hear more about your novel! :-) Oh...and did my emails come through all right???