Like many families in the United States ours has entirely too much stuff.
Homeschooling four children over twenty years and living in the same house for longer than that added to the pile of memories and tokens tucked in boxes and corners.
This week I decided (along with my youngest son) to tackle a couple of storage buildings we have. It was definitely time to clean out, throw out and pare down the piles.
So together we opened the doors and dug in.
Boxes that hadn’t been opened for years spilled out souvenirs from childhood, teen years and early adulthood. It was tempting to get lost in remembering but the heat of summer spurred us on.
More than once tears threatened and I had to take a deep breath to keep going.
Cleaning out is especially hard on my heart.
Just a couple months before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven I had gone through a ton of homeschooling papers, memorabilia and odds and ends, gleefully culling them down to a few representative bits I thought I’d box or scrapbook into a keepsake for each child.
I filled my truck bed with boxes and boxes and took it to the dump. I enjoyed tossing them on the pile and relished the now organized space left at home.
What felt like freedom then, feels like regret and longing now.
Because what I have left of the physical presence of my son is represented in the scraps I have kept-the clothes, the notes, the scribbled comments in the margins of his notebooks and college texts.
So I’m careful about what gets tossed and what I keep.
And regardless how many bins and boxes I sort through on a given day, I’m exhausted by the end of it.
It’s ALL heavy lifting for my heart even when it’s light in my arms.