Tim was dying of AIDS. When my younger brother spoke a bit of advice to his know-it-all prone sister, I listened.
We were sitting on the sofa in the living room of the Tudor style home. Between two children in grade school and a busy law practice, taking down the holiday decorations was a low priority. Tim looked around and ever so gently suggested it was time that the wreath and garland be tucked away for the next year.
I remember feeling a mild wave of embarrassment wash over me, despite the loving way he so tentatively pointed out what I so acutely knew was a weakness of mine. I started to mutter my excuses but my voice trailed off as even I knew they were just that—excuses.
“You’ll feel better if you do,” he said without a trace of judgment.
Someone recently referred to me as a “ball of energy.” Much of my life I have been on the go to what’s next. Too much of my life I have rushed forward without pause. This constant motion has often resulted in my leaving a trail of messes behind me.
Who takes time to wash the breakfast dishes when there’s a 7 a.m. meeting across town? Why pause to put away a file when a client awaits your return call? When do you clear your desk when you can reply to one more email instead?
I can be a slow learner in life. I lost a lot of energy in years gone by when I allowed beauty to become clutter as a season changed but I didn’t clear away that which belonged to the season gone by. This year I noticed I did a little better.
Nearly 20 years after his death, Tim’s wise words were with me as I folded the holly napkins and returned the delicate glass ornaments to their homes where they would safely hibernate until next year.
“You’ll feel better if you do.”
As you move through your divorce, have you allowed your world to be filled with that which needs to be put away? Is it time to box up those dishes promised to your soon to be former spouse? Is it serving you to have your wedding portrait on full display? Is there a lingering resentful attitude about how much you gave to the marriage that needs to go out in the trash?
Tim was right, of course. It’s January and all vestiges of my holiday décor are safely in storage save a couple of poinsettias still blooming. With the space cleared, I feel a renewed enthusiasm about rearranging the art on my walls and planning the year ahead.
If you’re like me, you can rationalize with a host of reasons why to rush to the next task rather than tidying as you go. May you learn quicker than me as you practice putting away that which is no longer serving you in the present season.
I promise you’ll feel better if you do.