Original Artwork © Julie Cox, 2008
Ahh, moving. I used to enjoy moving. This was before my children, before my husband, before I'd lived in a house for three and a half years with enough storage space to hide all manner of accumulation. These days, moving from one house to another has more in common with ditch digging than a spiritual exercise in exploring new spaces. In fact, the question that springs to mind most often is "How the eff did we acquire so much junk?!"
And junk it is, really. There are components of toys that have never really been played with except for the ten minutes it took to disassemble it. There are chargers to electronics we haven't seen in years, especially cell phones. Board games with missing pieces; pet supplies for animals that died before we even moved here; half-broken things to be fixed; books to be repaired; copies of old bills from closed accounts; pieces of wood or tools that might be useful should the perfect situation arrive. To each object I must apply the question, "Is this a blessing or a burden?" If it's a burden, out it goes. But boy, looking at these boxes, it seems we are either overly blessed or I am not answering that question truthfully.
The worst pile of accumulation is, of course, the toys. With two little boys and twin sets of generous grandparents, the toys spill out of cabinets and drawers with gleeful abandon. As most people with this problem observe, 90% of the toys are never actually played with. This does not, of course, mean that the children are willing to part with the neglected toys. Each and every one becomes a beloved favorite as soon as it's gone. Therefore, I must go through the toys when the children are not present. Unfortunately, those times are rare to nonexistent. So I do what I can, when I can, and the inevitable "Where's my ________ ?" will just have to be an accepted fact of life.
To my shame, the next greatest heap of junk is mine. But it's GOOD junk! It's fabric scraps, leather bits, a length of great ribbon, a bag of buttons, a rockin' strap I saved from a worn-out purse. I downsized once, when we had our second baby and my craft room became my craft corner. That one was painful. This one will be equally so, because I'm not just asking "Is this exceptional material," which is an external question. I'm also forced to ask myself if I will really, truly get around to using it. If I haven't put something in a project in three to five years, can I really justify holding onto it? Blessing or burden?
Oh, if only it stopped there. I've had that violin for six years; will I ever learn to play it? I've never gotten that antique sewing machine fixed; will I ever learn to sew with it? Desire alone is not enough. My internal project list, that system of open loops that replays in my head, must let go of my loftier dreams, in order to keep the practical ones alive.
Despite the unpleasantness of the purge, what is left is a relief and a joy, because there is less baggage to weigh us down. We will be able to really see what we have, and know that everything we have is a blessing. I might have to let go of some old visions, but the ones I retain I might actually get to see realized. Besides, I am sure I will come up with more ridiculous schemes to take their place, such as raising dairy goats and ornamental chickens. I don't think the kids understand the value of leaving behind the burdens, but they will.
One way or another, that maddening plush thingy that sings is getting tossed. Burden it is!
About the Author: Julie Cox is a new pagan writer and artist who lives with her two young children and husband in Texas. She carries degrees in both Art and Religion. To see more of Julie's artwork go to Shopping and Art gallery on our main menu.