Thursday, March 31, 2011

Packing Up

I have been putting off this part of our transition with all of the excitement I can muster about the newness of the life I am called to step into. Partly because I really don't like the idea of living out of boxes for a while. But mostly because I am very afraid of the struggle to let go of what isn't working for me anymore. Living simply is something I have felt called to in my life for a very long time, but there is an inner part of me that is terrified of how free and honest I could be if I truly did live into that call. What gifts and energies I might open up to use in God's work around me, and what might be the next step after giving up the stuff that is holding me back. So now, as I am invited to step into that call in a deeper way than ever before as part of following a larger, more fundamental call I find that I am both exhilarated and terrified. The physical weight that I need to lose (body clutter) is coming off faster than I thought possible, but I know that I am still stuck behind the clutter in my house and my life. Don't get me wrong, the beauty and special things that have no other purpose in life but to make me smile and feel good will most definitely be sticking around. But the other stuff - the stuff I hang on to in the fear that if I get rid of it I'll need or want it or disappoint someone - carries the energy of being stuck. It keeps me trapped in the fear of not enough. Of not being enough, not having enough, not able to give enough. Of wanting and not being able to have. The flip side of that is my new found and slowly strengthening ability to look at things, admire them, dream about how they would make my life more whatever, and then leave them where I found them until their true owner comes along. Unless it truly makes my life sing - like a flattering new pair of pants in a color and fabric I enjoy wearing is on sale for an incredible price just as my stock of wearable pants is down to one or two. It isn't that I am opposed to having things. But as I am packing my things they must pass a new test. Do I need it? Things like the vacuum cleaner fall into this category. It may not be beautiful and I may not smile each time I see it, but I certainly need it to keep my carpets clean. Do I use it? Our Rotisserie oven and upright freezer probably fall into this category. We don't really need them but we use them constantly. On the other hand, the terracotta chicken roaster that sits unused in the cupboard doesn't pass this test. Do I love it? Does it make me happy? The ultimate in the final whittling down of stuff. I have a lot of knick-knacks and heirlooms. Not to mention beautiful teapots and crystal. But some of that crystal and pressed glass has no meaning to me. They were bought at discount stores for no reason other than I wanted a vase or a bowl and didn't have any at the time. Those can go since they have been replaced by wedding gifts and heirlooms that my family has generously shared with me. Even some of the heirlooms will be returning to my parents, especially to my mom, for whom there is much more meaning attached than for me. So while the thrill of answering a deep call carries me forward, I am also dreading the sorting and separating. I know that there will be guilt about some of the things I plan on donating. There will be some anxiety about paring down to the things that actually mean something. In the end I know that it will be worth the work when my surroundings support and energize my husband and I instead of serving as a reminder of all of the stuff that we need to be taking care of.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Update: Beginning of a New Journey

Hello again!

It has been quite a while since I have checked in here at the virtual cottage, and I find that now that I am back things will be changing to keep up with the developments in the non-virtual cottage. I know I hinted at some big changes, and many of the changes that are happening are ones that I had not even dreamed of when I wrote my last post.

So to the changes:

I have been accepted to seminary. Starting in the Fall. While this is a huge step in a direction that I have felt called to for a good portion of my life it is just now happening and I am beginning to finally accept that my acceptance there is real. It is the first step in my particular journey to priesthood, and I could not be more thrilled that God has finally allowed me to take this step.

As such the cottage will be pulling up roots and moving to Berkeley sometime this Summer. In the meantime there will be a huge state of flux here as we sort and separate things to toss, things to donate, things to store, and things to take. I'm not a big fan of chaos (or of moving) so this is a big test for me. I've always wanted to fully embrace the simple life and this is offering me a chance to truly evaluate that desire and to put it into practice.

It also means that the virtual cottage will be changing a bit. I'm hoping to post here to help my friends and family keep up with some of the things going on as I begin this new stage in my journey and there will be a decidedly more faith-based accent to my writing. I have a lot to explore, and this is a great place to be a part of the online community of others on a journey within themselves and their faith lives.