but it was the insides of my home which had changed. dramatically. drastically. if you look carefully, look deeply, you'll find that the inner parts to our space have been cleaned up and cleared out. there's almost not a drawer or closet which hasn't been addressed by this wild mother on her wild mission. every single bed in our home has virtually nothing underneath it anymore (is that even possible?). closets have been emptied of the extraneous. cabinets have been reorganized and at least 10,000 sheets of paper have been recycled or burned. apparently, in 22 years of marriage, we've never thrown away a single thing. i told my friend the other night, "i think i might be an organized hoarder." i keep things pretty tidy and neat, labeling just about everything and anything that holds still, but it is quite possible, i have saved every piece of paper which has ever come my way. seriously, if you happened to write to me between the years of 1968 and 2012, chances are, i still have your letter. i opened up a tin a few days ago filled with notes and letters from my childhood school and camp friends...every one of them! i even came across a stack of letters from my 8 year old pen pal. i am 43 years old...why do i still have these letters from a girl i never even met in person?
|the children have helped with our paper bonfire!|
so, we've cleaned from the inside out. so far, none of the surface stuff has been touched. everything still looks like it always has. and for the moment, this feels right. next week i will begin to dismantle the decorating. next week i will begin to crack wide the outer shell of our beloved abode. next week it will definitely be time. but this week i keep telling myself, just one more day with everything still in place. one more day.
as much as i don't want to take our life apart, i have to tell you though, the deep cleaning has been wonderful, cathartic, in fact. if we weren't moving cross country, i am not sure i'd ever have taken the time to really consider the stuff that we've kept. because this house has some pretty good storage, we've been able to keep it all. there's been room for the random. i've tried to be good about weeding out what isn't being used... at least it seems like i am always heading to goodwill with a bag or two of stuff. but still we collect. and it is especially hard to part with the personal -- the letters and notes and pictures and child shaped pottery. i have sat on almost every floor of our home in these past two weeks going through boxes of our treasures -- reading notes, laughing at old letters, studying pictures, enjoying memories. it has been delightful and it has been heartbreaking. my already fragile self has been flooded with remembrances -- little bits and pieces of what we were and where we've come from. and though digging deep has been hard, even a little painful at times, it has done me some good. i mean sure, i've had some teary-eyed moments, but i can't go through this process without being a little bit thankful that i've had the time and opportunity to linger a little over our life. reflection: that's been an unexpected gift in this moving. a favorite doll of my daughter, the soft scrap of a baby blankie, a handprint painting, the dried bouquet from my wedding, a journal from childhood, a love letter from my daughter...all of it precious -- all of it worth looking at again.
but we all know, it can sometimes be hard when we have to look inside. not just in our homes, but in our lives as well. the older i get the more messy corners i find hidden within me, the more dirt i discover deep down. there's always something buried inside needing to be addressed. i know often i seem to spend more time on the outer shell: clothing, hair, lipstick...that kind of thing. i spend time worrying about that extra five pounds or that unwelcome blemish, when really what God wants is for me to keep looking inside. certainly i've gotten better since my teen years -- let's, at least, hope so. but, still... i can't quite shake my eyes from the scrutiny of those outside things. not only is it distracting, but it's also a little bit easier to stay on the surface. it's easier to worry about the business of beauty and the busy-ness of life. a good plan of action can attack most anything superficial, but it takes something more to go deep -- to look inside and underneath and within. it takes great time. it takes great energy. it takes great devotion. and sometimes it takes being moved. yes, that's right, moved. i want to be a woman who is known to care more about the insides of herself and her loved ones and her life... but i have to be honest, it is sometimes easier to cover it all up and just pretend we aren't moving. just pretend nothing's changed. just pretend no re-ordering is necessary.
sitting here on this rainy thursday morning, i am certain these past few weeks of cleaning from the inside out have been good for me, for my family, for our house. they have certainly been good for the bottom line of our moving bill. without doubt, i am a little more raw and maybe even a little more vulnerable from dragging out the innards of our life, but i am oddly confident there's been blessing found here. and whether we are peering deep in the corners of our homes or deep in the corners of ourselves, there's something good to be gained in our daring to look. maybe, though, we have to be willing to move a little. maybe we'll never choose to do it on our own, but if we are willing to sacrifice the comfortable, then, maybe then, we can study the contents. there's no one reading this who would disagree. i know all of us would shake our heads acknowledging what really matters is on the inside. no one would argue otherwise. and what's more, it is the inside stuff which takes the most time. even with this move, i can already tell, it will be no big deal to strip the house of the wall hangings and empty a room of its decor. but what has truly taken some blood, sweat and a few tears, is going deep into the recesses of what we have...of who we are.
what happens in your life when you feel God beginning to stir? to move? to move you? that can be something harder. sometimes He shakes us up. sometimes He empties us out. sometimes He dismantles our facade completely -- just like i am doing in my own home this month. and as frustrating and stressful as all that can be...it is also quite possible that a little treasure can be unearthed.
maybe, just maybe, we occasionally need to be moved.
"for the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance,
but the LORD looks on the heart.” ~ 1 samuel 16:7
In my heart, in my soul
I give you control
Consume me from the inside out
Let justice and praise
Become my embrace
To love you from the inside out
Everlasting, your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart is to bring you praise
From the inside out
Lord my soul cries out