After I lost my son I began to really evalulate my life. What did I spend my time on? Life is so short. I was twenty-eight years old. I spent five years parenting him. What did I do with those minutes? And how could I make the not-so great things better? Was there a way to make space? To breathe a little easier? I love a tidy, clean house. but I love being with my family even more. I needed to find the balance without stressing out about it. I needed to own less stuff.
Sometimes when life is spinning out of control we cling to something we can control. For me, that was our stuff. Our possessions showed how blessed we were. And I always wanted to show how grateful I was for everything we owned. That didn’t mean putting everything on display, but it did mean saving a lot of things for “someday”. But what if someday never came?
That happened to me with Thao. Someday wasn’t coming. And all those clothes I saved for him, I had to go through them piece by piece. All those games that were too old and science kits we weren’t ready for? I had to touch each one. I had to physically and emotionally and mentally make a choice. Was this worth the space in my home and my brain? Organizing, sorting through. These things didn’t contain memories of beatiful moments, they contained hopes of a promising future. And that was stripped from me. I couldn’t even think ahead two weeks let alone a few years with my children. My mindset had changed. I lived in the now. And to be honest, a little in the past.
But the future? It had not come yet. It was not promised. I didn’t want to live there, count on it or invest my energy. Grief is exhausting. Maybe these things don’t seem healthy to you, maybe you grieve differently. Or maybe you haven’t been through the same kind of really big, somewhat sudden, loss. I wasn’t unhealthy, I was just a grieving mama. Trying to cope with the day to day of still getting out of bed and caring for my other children, tending to our broken hearts and loving each other well in marriage. I was full to capacity. I didn’t have space for more.
And the stuff made my house feel like it was closing in on me. I also needed something that I could control, since so much of my life I couldn’t. So I set out on a mission. And one closet, one room, one corner, one drawer, one tote at a time…I sorted through and parted with things.
I came to the conclusion that God would provide. Silly, I know. After all these years of trusting him this is what it took for me to trust him to provide for me.
What good were these things to me, sitting in a tote waiting for someday? What if someday never came and these things sat here rotting away? What if someone else was praying for these things? What if I was clinging to tightly to things and I missed the opportunity to bless someone else? What if the clothes I stored were someone else’s answered prayer?
One box at a time, I put each item through this filter. And began to give things away. And God continued to provide for me.
But, what if he doesn’t? What if he doesn’t meet all my physical needs? Will I still trust him? Can I still relent control over my own life? What if everything literally fades away and all I have left is God? Is he enough for me?
These questions began to swirl around in my head. Being so close to my time in the hospital, the answer seemed easy. The hospital was a bit of a spiritual high in so many ways. God showed his face to us. He poured down peace. I felt so close to heaven in those moments that all these earthly things were so easy to put in there place.
I thought this was what God was preparing me for, letting go and learning to be generous. Trusting in him. I had no idea there was more.