Part 1: Bridges & Life 6/17/20
Part 2: Bridges & Life, Crossing Troubled Water 6/19/20
Part 3: Bridges & LIfe, Crossing Bridges Instead of Building Walls 6/23/20
Part 4: Bridges & LIfe, Knowing what to take on the Journey 6/23/20
A friend was getting her large home ready to sell after her husband’s sudden death. As we purged, sorted, and packed, I saw how unattached she was to most of the possessions. Her relationships—daughters, grandchildren, parents, friends—and spiritual walk are where she places value. The only physical belongings that mattered were items with sentiment attached to them.
When you have fewer possessions, what you do have has more value.
For some, it’s easier to put energy into belongings then into human connections. That’s one reason many people have a lot of physical “baggage.”
It can be challenging to walk away from the “stuff of your life,” especially when you’re bombarded by messages that shout, “this is what you need to own to be important and successful.” It’s hard to hear over the constant “buy, buy, buy” being screamed at you. Some people feel “less than” if they don’t have what (it seems) everyone else has, so they live for what they can buy next, because possessions, not experiences or relationships, bring them the most joy. ➀ Amazing cars, seasonal wardrobe overhauls, and the latest technology are all great but not when they replace human relationships.
Obviously, COVID-19 has impacted the way purchases are made. But, has it influenced how you view buying things—changing your desire to have so much?
Of course, some possessions matter to me, but they’re primarily not those with a financial value. Absolutely, I want my home to be welcoming, well-maintained, and comfortable (I genuinely believe, “home should be the place you can’t wait to get home to”). Still, if you asked me to choose only a few things that I could keep, they’re the ones that have emotional weight—the photographs of my daughters and grandchildren growing up, the drawings and gifts made for me by family and friends, the notes and encouragement written in love from those who care, memories of travel and experiences and, of course, Mom’s cookie jar.
Some folks believe they need all the “stuff” of life, but most of us have so much more than we could ever really use or enjoy. Like everything in life, balance is critical.
Some bridges are easier to cross than others, aren’t they?
Some bridges are solid, inviting you to bring everything you want with you, but others have weight limits, and if you’re carrying too much stuff, you might just fall through. Some bridges are very familiar because you’ve been back and forth on them hundreds of times; others have just been built, and they beckon to you because they’re shiny and new. And, some bridges have a sign that says, “a new life is on the other side,” but you simply don’t believe you deserve it.
What bridges do you regret never having crossed? What bridges have you walked on that have been mistakes, causing you nothing but pain? What bridge-crossings have touched your spirit, brought you love, or showed you what’s best in your life? ❤︎
➀ Over a million people in the US suffer from chronic hoarding, but that’s different from today’s discussion.
People hang onto things for a variety of reasons, some of them from personal or emotional issues:
• Poverty early in life—the fear of not having enough, has them hold onto things so that they never experience that scarcity again.
• Moving a lot—for some, moving is an adventure; for others, it’s unsettling and creates a nesting instinct, a desire to “hunker down” and create a place to call “home.”
• Being shy or hurt by people—these folks often “cocoon,” because finding comfort in staying home is easier than risking rejection by putting themselves outside their comfort zone.
• Loss—the absence of significant people creates a desire to hold onto things that remind him/her of the person who’s gone.
In addition to the more internalized explanations above, we often have too much “stuff” for more simplistic reasons:
• Feeling overwhelmed—it’s a lot of work to figure out what to keep and what to throw away, so it becomes easier to simply live with it.
• The “what if” clause—”what if I run out of paper towels, need these 75 old gift boxes, lose 30 pounds and this dress fits again, or both of my can openers break?”
• Misguided loyalty—when you stick something in the back of a closet or cabinet because it belonged to someone dearly departed and you don’t know how to be “okay” with getting rid of it, even though you know you’ll never use it.
This bridge, partially obscured by a tree, covered with moss and showing signs of wear has stood the test of time. But, it has grown more beautiful with age and still supports the weight of those who cross it.
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