When my children were young and spring came, I started pulling everything out of my children’s closets and dressers. Piles everywhere. Would anything still fit for summer? I sure hoped so.
Thus my seasonal sorting began. Which things were acceptable and which things were too small? What should I keep for another younger sibling and what clothing should I either pass down to another child or box to sell at a garage sell.
It took some serious time to get through all the clothes of three children. Mostly what I discovered was that either they had grown more than I thought, or I had seriously shrunk all their clothing. Pants were too short. Shoes were too small. Dresses were too short. The piles of things we pulled out of the closet were much larger than what we put back. Then I was faced with the reality of what we needed to buy to replace so many outgrown items. I wondered how we could afford it all.
When autumn came, the process began all over again. And so this sorting continued year after year until my children left the nest.
Even though that particular variety of sorting ceased, I’m still forever sorting something: cupboards, closets, files, stacks of papers, books, recipes, and photos. What to keep? What to give away? What to discard? What still has usefulness to me—or maybe someone else? What is just clutter? Oh, and my office! I try, but every time I start working on writing submissions and other projects, things seem to explode. Then I have to sort, organize, and discard all over again.
I wonder if my now grown children will one day feel overwhelmed when they have to sort through all the stuff that I leave behind upon my passing. Then I determine to sift and sort some more things. This is often followed with at least one more box going out the door to a local charity.
But the truth be told, it’s not only tangible possessions that I sort. My mind and heart does an unending sorting as I attempt to un-clutter my thoughts.
I wade through a barrage of information and opinions on hundreds of topics coming at me from every direction. What do I accept and what do I discard?
I weigh priorities and perspective. I decide what is important over and over again.
I consider options and try to make wise decisions.
I examine problems and look for solutions.
I sort out relationships. What’s going on with so and so? Is she under stress or has she pulled away for some reason. Do I let it slide for now or should I address it. What can I do to make the relationship better between me and whomever?
I sift through both old memories and hopes and dreams for the future.
I ponder over my questions. My doubts and confusion.
I look at my worries and fears, releasing them once again to God.
I need solitude for periodic internal sorting. That is what I like about walking time—prayer time—gardening time. Uninterrupted moments where I listen to my heart. I listen for God.
Save and discard. Save and discard. Save and discard. It’s time-consuming, but it is part of life. The tangible, the intangible. The external, the internal. Deciding what to keep and what to toss aside. I pray for wisdom as I sort my way through life.
(c) 2010 Marlene Depler