cleaning up

I’d say “Saying goodbye sucks” if I didn’t have to put a quarter in the “crass case”.

That’s Josh’s idea. We (meaning me) decided that 1 way we need to prepare for moving to the Middle East was to clean up our vocabulary. Words and expressions that are fit for Madison do not fit Dubai. (Of course my mom thinks that some of our expressions aren’t for fit anywhere!) Certain sayings and specific words – whatever we’ve labeled as “crass” – have a 25 cent fine. (And there are a few that will cost you 50 cents!) At the end of the week, whoever has had the least infractions gets the money. (So far, it hasn’t been me.)

It’s surprising how hard it is to let go of even useless words once they’ve become part of your daily life. But we’re making progress. If we work hard to clean up our words now, when we get to where we’re going it won’t be so hard.

I’m already mentally cleaning up our house. There’s so much stuff that’s just taking up space. We have a lot of things we don’t need anymore (and lots that we never did!) My mom is moving in when we’re gone. I want to free up space for her to make it her home for as long as she lives there. Even though we know we’re not going to live here soon and that if we ever return to this house we’ll need to begin again anyway, it’s hard. Hard to let go of stuff – even useless stuff. But we’re choosing to clean it all up knowing it’s a necessary part of moving ahead. And of saying goodbye.

I’m cleaning up relationships, too. Working hard to forgive where needed. Doing my best to say “goodbye” well. I don’t see these people every day. Or even every year. But knowing that I’m going to be on the other side of the planet makes a difference in our relationships. I have to let go. And so do they.

This trip I’m on now is a gift. I’m grateful to spend time before I leave the country with people I love and who love me. But I ache when I think of how long it will be til I see them again. And I wonder if it may be the last time I see some of them or hug them goodbye. It’s painfully hard. Crying hard. In fact, it sucks.

Gotta go put another quarter in the jar.

"There have been a number of times in my life when my reaction is "No, no, no!" to whatever possibility looms on the horizon. But with hindsight, I can see that sometimes God is like water, slowly eroding whatever objections my false selves may present. The important question for discernment of these experiences of discomfort is this: will this new possibility enable me to live with greater faith, hope, and love, responding to God's will? Even if the answer is not clear, keeping open the possibility that God is moving me gives me the chance to listen for the ways God may be trying to get my attention. Perhaps God is trying to melt my objections."
The Ignatian Workout, Tim Muldoon, p. 40

There’s a lot to clean up not just on the outside, but on the inside. Transition can feel like a good house-cleaning of the heart, it we'll let it be. Fears that can be managed under normal circumstances…character flaws that can be hidden or disguised when things are going smoothly…all rise to the surface when the future is uncertain, nothing’s going according to plan, and we can’t see how any of this is really going to happen. Grab some courage and listen to your heart. What are you feeling about life circumstances and letting go?
How is God working in your life to expose fear, pride, independence, complacency, or other variations of a lack of faith or hardness of heart?
Will you choose to let God clean house? (It’s an opportunity to get cleaned up a bit now so that when we get to where we’re going, it won’t be so hard.)

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