We had twelve amazing years with my mother-in-love. There were some challenging moments as we learned to live together, each one worth it. I miss her physical presence even now. After hear passing we dealt with some of her stuff, clothing given away, food stuffs depending on the date either tossed or consumed. Eventually her living room becoming my office, painting it Show Stopper Purple and Lime Green. The other room became something of a storage area, a place to keep things that held some meaning or that we, I, didn’t want to deal with. Oh there were reasons for not dealing with it that included thinking we were staying in NY, we really had no reason to leave; we had the space to leave it there, and a few others that all make and made sense.
While my Sweetie and I were packing up the house our conversation snippets put the last ten years in perspective offering me opportunities to reflect on life, grief, sorrow, challenges, and how things build up overtime in ways that we hardly notice until we must deal with them.
While vacuuming now empty rooms thoughts of, “how did this happen” and “how did you let this happen” and “this won’t happen again” and “is this important” and “Wow this is a beautiful experience” and “oooh I remember that moment” and “I loved those people I wonder how they’re doing” and “that Thanksgiving dinner was outstanding” and “wow it’s great to deal with this” and “why did I wait so long to take care of this” zoomed through like race cars at over 100 mph around a fast track. As one might expect with a move as big as this, a complete emptying of the house, twenty-two years in one place, with essentially two households there is a lot of stuff. While we purged a lot I suspect more purging once the dust settles, and we’re able to move into a new home.
While going through my sewing studio I let some things go, and had grand plans to donate fabric to a local group that makes charity quilts. That fabric was loaded onto the truck as the plans to drop it off at a friends house were thwarted by physical distancing, and the rain we’ve had on/off for the last few couple of weeks. It’s one of those things that simply happens. My quilt studio hasn’t been this clean since we moved in. There’s always been too much furniture in that room, and things tucked in the closet that we might need someday. Some goes, some goes with.
Each room of this home has memories of people and gatherings, joyful occasions and deeply sad occasions. While hauling the holiday and Christmas decorations out of the closet where they’ve been since my mother-in-love passed away the memory of “bringing her home” just before Christmas washed over me, tears streaming down my face. We promised her she would be home in time for Christmas, we just didn’t expect it in that way. And in the moment it was prudent to sit in the grief.
This move is a reminder that people aren’t the things they leave behind, that we aren’t the things we leave behind. While some of these things hold strong reminders of that person, they are objects for use by ourselves, or by others. Holding on to them simply because the object reminds you of a person isn’t a good reason to keep it. Or holding on to things simply because there is space in the house to do so isn’t good either. At some point dealing with it becomes a high priority and then the options might be limited. Limited options are sometimes a good thing.
I admit, I confess to holding onto some things simply because I wasn’t ready to let go, and/or felt like I needed some input in the going. One box has a timeline on it. I need to have a deep heart to heart with my self and with God to give consideration to what else I’m holding onto that prevents me from having deeper relationships with God, and with the people in my life. It’s not simply the things, it’s hurts, wounds, aches, words said and thought. It’s the quick to be offended, or giving in deeply to the immediate negative emotional response. I do not know what this self isolation and quarantine are showing me, I do know though that there is a need for more frequent and deeper prayer. It’s time to grow into both the woman and quilter God is creating me to be. The reading over the last year is part of the indication that something in faith must shift. I still long to write the Forty Days of Prayer for Quilters it’s just not quite time yet.
Having a major restart like this is an amazing gift. The thing I know is this gift of a refresh has been there all along. There were other things at play here that prevented me/us from opening this gift. While my go-to is feeling deeply the crippling effects of shame, I’m claiming this as the time to get up and make changes. To cling to God’s Mercy, Grace, and Forgiveness. To forgive myself. To take steps, no matter how faltering, and become renewed. I’ve thought for a while something needed to shift with my quilting, and my life. And here I am at the opening of a new door that leads to ____________.
I share with you this morning Bishop Barron’s Homily for Divine Mercy Sunday.
Happy Quilting and God bless,