October 10, 2012

Letting Go

This letter is to Marla Cilley. Founder and CEO of FlyLady.net, a website to help people overcome clutter and help them manage their house. I found these words to be so very truthful. About a lot of things...

Dear Marla,

My teenage niece visited last winter. Having never lived in a cold climate, she was delighted when it snowed. She decorated and dated a jar, filled it with snow and put it in the freezer to take home. To no avail, I explained that the fluffy snow would harden to ice, melt before we got to the airport - that no matter what she does to preserve it, she can't bring snow home...

Now, cleaning the freezer, I find her jar with a clump of ice that used to be snow, and smile at my niece's folly - preserving snowflakes. A God Breeze from Flylady gently reveals my hypocrisy - all the snowflakes I try to preserve, in my sentimental clutter.

FlyLady asks "need, use, love" in decluttering. When I come across sentimental items from friendships, I wonder whatever happened...if she retired, if her son is still having problems, if she ever got married, divorced, finished her degree, if her cancer came back; is she still alive? I think, I should look her up, get in touch, one of these days...but I don't feel a compelling urge to do so, right now. I think I "need" to keep the sentimental item, because someday, I might call...

But, I never do, get in touch. I never have gotten in touch. I never will.

The wondering is a detached curiosity, nothing more. Something inside me understands that the beautiful snowfalls of early winter in a place far away can't be recreated in this season of my life. I see it so clearly, in my niece's frozen snowflakes, the difference between what "was" and what "is" - what I don't "need" to keep, what I must leave behind. I don't "need" a reminder on my wall, to remember to call a friend. People I went to school with, worked with, neighbors, met in various organizations... these people are no longer friends... as a chunk of ice in a jar is no longer snow.

Flying is knowing that most of what I experience is ephemeral, meant to be noticed and appreciated in the moment it happens. Enjoying the snowfall, letting it melt away, letting go of what was, loving what is.