I think this season of Lent is going to look like a lot of different things for me. I shared how some people give up things during Lent and how we can lean into more of a life with Jesus. ( read Lent – Letting Go and Leaning In ) I don’t have a specific thing that I’m giving up (seriously, not coffee), but I am working on the letting go pieces.
I’m ready to let go of some things in my life. Both physical things and old ideas. Sometimes I think we need to clear out space in our lives, mentally and physically, to be prepared for the good and the new that is to come.
These last days of winter are perfect for this. These days when I feel overwhelmed and just need a bright spot of sun. Days when I feel exhausted and look for that ray of hope.
Spring always comes. Every year it comes. The grass will be green again, the flowers will bloom, and the sun will feel amazing on my skin. The hope is just on the horizon.
Time to let go, time to clear out, time to prepare for the spring in life.
I recently saw a picture of what letting go can look like over Lent. Instead of abstaining from sweets for the period, spend 40 days purging. Clean out the junk, the clutter. Donate your unused stuff to a charity, to someone whom it will bless.
So, that’s what I’m doing.
Getting rid of the stuff.
Getting rid of the old ideas attached to the stuff.
Some of it’s easy to toss.
Some of the stuff is tough though.
It’s attached to a lot of memories.
While I know the things don’t contain the person or event and I don’t need to keep the things, those memories are flooding me tonight. Some memories of people and things and events that will never be again. And some things I had hopes for, that aren’t reality today. But cleaning out this closet needs to happen. Releasing some of these memories is hard, but I trust it’s what I need to do.
I’m sitting here with a scarf wrapped around me that I wore in Israel. It reminds me of my sweet friend Annette, who took her life last summer. I just folded another scarf that belonged to my grandma. I’m not ready to let it go yet, even though in a few days it will be three years since we let her go.
I found a bag I brought gifts from Mexico home in and I’m reminded of the one who blew me off and never got their gift. I tossed an old tank top that someone bought me as a matchy-matchy silly gift. I didn’t even realize I still had it at the bottom of a basket. And the hats collecting dust on my bookshelf? Safari in the basement, I’ve never worn you again. Stupid cowboy hat from even stupider person? Why are you still here?
I still have the personalized duffel bags from when I taught preschool, well over ten years ago. I so appreciated them at the time. Those were also some of the hardest days of my life at the end of my marriage. Why do I still have those bittersweet reminders?
I feel myself getting angry. And sad. And worn out. And frustrated. And wondering what to do with all this emotion.
And then a breath of fresh air arrives in the lyrics of a song. (btw, He talks to me all the time in music)
“Every day is a start of something beautiful”
There it is.
The reminder of my word for the year: Beauty.
Let it go, Nancy. Keep the sweet, beautiful memories. Let go of the bad ones. You’ve already learned your lessons from them. Remember the lessons. They’re part of who you are, but they are not your full story. Keep letting go of the stuff. Keep making space for the good and the new that is coming. Keep leaning in for more. Keep seeing the beauty and joy around you.
Tomorrow is a fresh new day and a start to something beautiful.
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! Lamentations 3:22-23 (The Message)