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Archive for February, 2011

Moon at night

The moon at night.

Sometimes,  this could be me.

A modern folktale.

Once upon a time there was a woman who woke up at 3 am, every night, for no good reason. 

She wasn’t worrying.  She wasn’t sick.  She wasn’t depressed.  She just woke up – wide awake – at 3 am.  Every night.

 She tried cutting down on coffee, squeezed in some exercise during the day, but she still woke up every night.  Night after night after night. 

Now, this woman was busy.  She had a family, job, friends, volunteer work, parents.  She prided herself on getting things done.    Driving the kids to activities, making meals, cleaning house, shopping, paying the bills, working, volunteering – she was always on the go.  And she thrived on the activity, thrived on being in control and being needed.  

Sometimes she felt lost in her busy-ness, as if something elusive was missing in her life. But she brushed off that nagging thought and went back to proudly crossing things off her long list.   She didn’t have time to worry about it.

But she was used to being in control of her life, and so the night waking drove her crazy.  In the mornings she was tired and frustrated.

She began to get angry.  Finally, one night, waking up yet again, she sat up in bed, wide awake.  She was really, really pissed off.  “God!” she shouted to the air “Why am I waking up every night at 3 am?”

And to her utter astonishment, God answered:  “Because it’s the only time I can get your attention.”

Sometimes,  this could be me.

Seeker

(I’ve been told this story, with different details, several times by several people.  This is just my re-telling of this tale.)

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clutterDe-cluttering – is it grieving and letting go of lost friends, unfinished projects, unfulfilled dreams and failed relationships? Or is it just … cleaning up?

I recently cleared out a pile of boxes that had been hidden – literally covered up by a large cloth – in my house.

A lot of wisdom was stored in those boxes. And some home truths.

My ‘personality profile’ from 1996. I still have the same strengths and weaknesses, only now that I have kids and a ‘bigger’ job, the stakes are higher.

Articles, stories, poetry, essays written in the 1970s and 1980s – I was a fine writer then, but I am a better writer now. The words on those yellowed pages have languished for decades in an old box. But they are a part of me.

Letters, cards, address books, diaries, yearbooks from different seasons of my life. Crumbled corsages that still have the faint scent of gardenia. People who have come and gone, leaving me with fond memories, and regrets.

Junk. Broken trinkets. I don’t even know what some of this stuff is. Ugly ornaments that I kept because they were gifts, but I don’t remember who gave them to me any more. So much useless stuff in our lives.

Art from my childhood. I had forgotten how much I liked to draw and paint. And sing! As an adult, how hard it is to just enjoy doing something when we have been told we are “not good at it”.

Phone lists, agendas, meeting notes. People whose lives I have touched – as a youth leader, as a mentor, as a boss. Did I make an impact? Did I make a difference? It’s like dropping a pebble in a lake – the ripples are out of sight by the time they reach the shore.

My high school prom dress. Skinny jeans. Teeny t-shirts. Did these clothes really fit me?

In the end, I reduced the stuff by half. The rest is carefully stored for the next time I want to revisit the memories – and lessons – of the past.

The cleaning up was easy. But maybe letting go takes a lifetime.

Seeker

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