Okay, it’s time.
I’m tired of pretending.
I’m tired of thinking Life will magically clean this mess around me.
It must be Spring.
…because I’m itching to start cleaning closets.
Growing up, I was that “‘has-it-all-together’ summa cum laude teenaged girl” who reveled in the chaos of my messy room. Honestly, I can’t say that I ever really noticed it, or was even disgusted by it. It just was. Pure and simple. And it worked for me.
Until it didn’t.
I only found out years later how much this bothered Mom. To her credit, and my Life’s lessons, she didn’t make a big deal of it with me. She’d rub through a few more rosary circuits, unleash her frustration with Dad, “I just can’t handle her room, Don!”, quietly close the door and let me live in cluttered glory — hoping I’d get sick of it.
And every Spring, I did.
Unfortunately for mom, when I’d break my cleaning fast, I didn’t go for the obvious. I didn’t start with those milk-crusted glasses, or the wrinkled piles that blanketed a hibernating carpet. I didn’t purge the monoliths of discarded poem-starts and unleashed Twinkie wrappers. Nope.
…I always started with the closets.
And the drawers.
And the under-the-bed peek-a-boo treasures.
… I’m an inside-out kinda girl.
Also, unfortunately for mom, her vision of a clutter-free incandescent existence for me, was a mirage at best. I often stopped — satisfied — way before the white gloves could come out (or the vacuum, for that matter).
But, the closets? Oh my gosh, the closets. When I was done, they were beautiful. Ordered and brilliant and perfectly right.
Somehow, Mom and Dad never could quite appreciate my job satisfaction. Like the grown ups in the Little Prince, they struggled with seeing things from the inside out.
(which might account for their own closets; they were a mess.)
Maybe like me now. This grown up me. Here, with my grown up clutter. And my room is messy again — a Life that needs purging, chucking, bagging, and burning. A grown up Me that is in desperate need of all things simple again. All things fresh, clean and new. Wishing for a rosary circuit and closed door, and a hope that I’ll get sick of it.
And I am sick of it. But not the outside stuff. That kind of disorder just needs time management, and a quick call to Merry Maids.
Nope, it’s the inside clutter I’m talking about. I’m still an inside-out kinda girl.
… And it’s time for cleaning out closets again.
Take, for instance, this little outfit named “Not Good Enough.” I’ve worn it way too long. It’s frayed and stained, but still so irresistibly comfortable. It’s time I let it go. It’s dated and highlights all my flaws. I think I might be ready to part ways.
And this pair of shoes. They were once so… so right. They went so well with my Not Good Enough outfit. They were advertised as Confidence and Swagger. Unfortunately they never fit quite right, but I wore them anyway –badly; nearly broke my neck, and heart, a couple of times. I need a new pair that fits…that fit me. Ones that will go perfectly with the new Good Enough outfit being tailored for me even as we speak.
There’s other things, too, in these closets that need purging. Most were impulsive buys. Those sale items labeled Cheap and Fast. Those “Why nots?” that seemed so right at the time… and so wrong later. Those On Clearance little ditties like Pride, and Half-Truths, Self-Righteousness and Righteous Anger (… they’re never righteous.)
I’m sure when I risk that first deep breath to start new again, I’ll find other things to toss. Like the worries that make it hard for Dreams to become big again. And hopes too young for a Life that must become brave again (not to mention Regret, which is never good for anything.) I’m sure I’ll have to rummage through the fears that often lurk in closets left too long untouched. And I’ll have to reconcile my need to see change measured in notches and pencil marks marked in inches and feet on aging doors.
But I also know there will be many things to keep — boxed up wonders meant to be dusted off, remembered, cherished and repacked for such times as these. That sense of history and self that declares, “I’ve come a long way; no, we’ve come a long way, Jesus, on this path, you and I.” Those mementos and accessories, and bits of Life that shout, “Save me, lest you forget from whence you’ve come.” So many treasures to keep. So many new treasures to make room for.
And when I’m tempted to chuck it all in fear or in the frenzy of impatience and fret, I’ll stand still.
Know that Love and Life and God himself are in the business of making all things new. Making me new. Working in me. Rooting for me. Cleaning closets with me. Making Life ordered and brilliant, and perfectly right.