IT’S ALL JUST “STUFF”, ANYHOW

It was a dreary, overcast morning when I went to collect the remainder of my personal belongings from what used to be my home. I had a hand in every square inch of that house as it was being built. I selected every single doorknob, cabinet, faucet, light fixture, & even the hinges. Due to my job as a real estate agent, I was able to negotiate lower prices or premium upgrades with many vendors.  I literally went by there each & every day while it was under construction, & walked through every single room, even before there were walls, & prayed that many happy memories would be made there. I poured my heart & soul into it. However, in the end, it was just a “thing.”

Poring over the remaining stuff I had left behind from the many trips I’d already made to move out, I realized that there is a lot of “stuff” that we cling to, much of it unnecessarily. For instance, why did I keep all of those audiocassette tapes, when today I have access to a huge variety of music via Pandora, Spotify, ITunes, etc. which I can listen to over a much higher quality Bose sound system that far surpasses the old cassette tape decks? I decided to finally let go of them. Likewise, why on earth did I still have copies of projects such as Nursery Committee Rules & Regulations that I had formulated MANY years prior? Something else for the trash can, I decided! Toys that have not seen the light of day in over a decade littered the bottom of the rec room closet floor. Some I kept, but some I discarded. Clothes that will probably be in style again one day, but which I will probably never be able to fit into again went into plastic bags for charity. Clippings of poetry & inspirational quotes also landed in File 13 – after all, they are all available online via the touch of a button now. Yes, we tend to cling to things in our lives for a variety of reasons – some we think we will need again one day, but we never do; some we keep close at hand because they are a reminder of a proud accomplishment, although keeping them does not magnify the memory; & yet others we hold tightly to because the cost to obtain them was once high, & we do not realize that the cost to hold on to them is even higher. Letting go was a cathartic procedure. Painful & healing all at once. It’s all just “stuff”, anyhow.

At one point as I was loading up my vehicle, the most beautiful pair of blue jays began frolicking in close proximity to me. I used to sit out on the back porch with my morning coffee & enjoy the various birds – jays, cardinals, wrens, finches, sparrows, swallows, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, mockingbirds & more – & contemplate on the life lessons I could pull from their behaviors & mannerisms. The cardinals’ steadfastness & blue jays’ persistence made exceptional impressions on me as I navigated my way through my rocky divorce. I am saddened by the absence of these feathered creatures now, because my new place has a concrete patio with no trees for a back yard. I am going to paint my old bird bath/birdfeeder in hopes that it will attract some of these little friends. Meanwhile, I have missed their presence in my daily life. I was delighted to find a brightly colored garden flag with one of each on it, & I placed it in the flower bed of my new front lawn to remind me of the lessons that I learned through birdwatching, a hobby I never thought I would have a taste to do. But it’s just not the same as seeing live birds flitting to & fro, fighting & playing with one another.

I stood in what was about to be my former back yard, & watched as almost every species of bird I named above flitted about in the trees behind the house. As I teared up reminiscing about my times sitting enjoying the wildlife that emanated from these woods, Lucky the cat sauntered up. I sat down on the splintered, faded old wooden swing (another favorite item I was leaving behind) to greet him, a spot where the two of us had communed many times in the past. As if he had not noticed that I had been gone for nearly a month, he stretched out lazily across my lap, & began to purr. That was the hardest part, I do believe. Saying good-bye to what used to be my pet. I was so very thankful that the neighbor adopted him, & that I did not have to worry about him getting run over on the busy street near my new place. But I felt like such a traitor to him at that moment. Even though I know it is in his best interests to remain there, the only home he has ever known, where he is free to roam the woods like he has always done, I still felt a twinge of disloyalty, & a great sadness.

After loving on him for a bit, I went back to the task at hand, reminding myself that I no longer needed the discarded items, that birds fly in other places other than beside that house, & that the cat will be better off. After all, it’s all just “stuff”, anyhow, right?

I was struck by the things I no longer owned, some of which were a necessity, & some which were just luxuries. I no longer own a fire extinguisher, a sleeping bag, a cooler, a  set of TV trays, a swing, patio chair cushions, or a riding lawn mower. I made a mental note to myself to try to get a fire extinguisher as soon as possible. The other “stuff” can wait.

I then had to relinquish my key & say a final good-bye to the house itself. I thought it would be more difficult. I thought I would break down as I drove away. I thought that I would be devastated. But as I pulled out of the driveway, the sun broke through the clouds for the first time that morning, & a great peace overcame me. It was all just “stuff”, anyhow, & I’d already mourned, over the past 5 years or so, the important things that this life transition caused me to lose. The sunshine warming my face on my drive away from, & yet also my drive to my “home”, spoke to me of brighter days ahead.

As I was sitting out on my new patio writing these words, suddenly I heard birds twittering nearby. I got up & went around behind my garage to see, & sure enough, there were a couple of blue jays tweeting there, perhaps trying to tell me that persistence pays! As I turned to walk back into my house, I spied the little stained glass bird that the previous resident had left behind. Tied to a string attached to the metal lattice piece that is designed to grow plants, floats a solitary little blue bird. I recalled seeing it the day I first viewed the place, & again on the day that I moved in. I took it to be an omen of good things ahead. After all, the blue bird is a symbol of HAPPINESS.

I may have left behind many significant & insignificant things of my former life, but I took with me the most important things: my dignity, self respect, faith, heart, soul, memories, & lessons learned. I took with me my hope for the future. I think I hear my new little blue bird tweeting that no one can take away my happiness, as it goes where I go. May yours go with you, as well. The rest is all just “stuff”, anyhow.

– L.L.S.

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Published by

LouSams

I am a Southern Belle, through and through. Born and raised in North Alabama, where my family settled in 1808, when the area was still the Mississippi Territory, I come from a line of Planters, Patriots, and Pioneers. They were people who were unafraid to take risks, who said what they believed, and who honored God and their Country. Like my ancestors before me, I have strong values, believing that the Golden Rule is indeed golden. I write as a way to relate and as a release. I hope that my words may inspire, challenge and provoke one to thinking about how extraordinary things can come out of ordinary places, people, and things.

2 thoughts on “IT’S ALL JUST “STUFF”, ANYHOW”

  1. That first paragraph hits very close to home (all except the saving money part lol). When I walked away from my previous home, I felt the exact same way. But you’re right, it’s just stuff! May Bluebirds come to greet you every day and if you ever feel the need to mow grass, come on over! 🙂

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