While having a conversation about the benefits of taking magnesium daily and the need for an occasional detox, Candace offered some needed (and perhaps a bit graphic) advice; “Sometimes you just need to poop and start over!” Poop and start over… sounds like wise advice for those transitioning from one phase of life to another. In fact, we were having this inspiring conversation while packing to move one state over.
After making three trips to Goodwill and paying to have the big items hauled away, I chose to tackle the three, yes three, vertical file cabinets. Previously, I would just pack up the items and move them with me. In fact, up to a few weeks prior, my only thought was whether it would be easier to move the cabinets full or empty. I had coexisted with some of the items in three different states. However, this time around, I decided it was time to let some things go.
Things I was sure I would need some day, were being tossed and prepared for the shredder. Personal and scholastic papers, certificates of accomplishments, “important” papers as old as 30 years, mementos from relationships no longer significant… were to be extinguished. This time, my only concern was making sure the bags weren’t too heavy for me to carry to the dumpster. Just like all the unmatched socks and clothes I could no longer wear in public… school records from 1984 no longer served a useful purpose. “Poop and start over.”
Sometimes you don’t know just how much stuff you need to flush out of your life until you begin the process. Tucked away in drawers are reminders of ways you once thought; causes you once held dear. Packed away in boxes are the “I’ll get to them one day” things we accumulate along the way. But life gets in the way of “someday” stuff and creates a clog in the system. Plans get pushed back. Just like it is for our physical health, our emotional health too requires constant and consistent elimination.
Paul told the church in Philippi that they were to forget what was in their past and strain and press forward, toward the goal of living out their calling (Phil 3:12-14). It’s interesting, prior to moving to Nevada, I had made several moves before and could not part with what eventually grew into a pile of junk. Like food that goes in our bodies, what once served a purpose can later bog us down and slow our progress. What we thought was essential, takes on a new meaning once we start over with God’s call in mind.
Sure, there were some good memories in those black garbage bags. There was proof I was honored and recognized for a variety of things. Proof that I had thoughts about different political and social matters over the years. There were also the beginnings of at least 20 projects and countless other “good ideas.” Yet, I decided to “poop and start over.”
I figured, since I was still breathing and in relatively good health, I could make new memories. In fact, not only was I was capable; I was still creative and even more courageous. I had come to a place in my life where I was able to see how the twists and turns and various stops and starts in life, can meld into a beautiful God-ordained work of art. With each bag I hauled, I strained forward; freed from the past and excited to start over again.
(Written 5/2017; Revised 9/2019)