Monday, August 30, 2010


A previous week's revgalblogpals Friday Five had clutter as its theme. As I answered the questions I found myself applying them not just as they related to physical stuff, but mental stuff as well.

1. What things do you like to hang on to?

2. What is hard to let go of?
Pain. Guilt.

3. What is easy to give away?
Advice I'm not using.

You get the point...

I have what I hope is a problem in common with a lot of the rest of humanity in that my mind can be cluttered with negative thoughts both due to my own inner voices (I'm not doing enough. I'm not all things to all people) and the voices of others (twitter feed, anyone?). Once I recognize the offending voice, I can usually handle it wisely from there.

But what I had already started to recognize, and that Friday Five brought into focus, is that I have decluttered some things a little too much.

Let me explain...

Just a touch over three years ago my life down-shifted into survival mode (DEFCON Level 1) due to the sudden (from my perspective) and very public (from the gossips' delight) implosion of my marriage. I had a two year old, a full time job and a congregation that just wanted all of it to go away.

Out of absolute necessity I went into survival mode. I streamlined everything and not in the ordered, simple-living way that word implies, but rather in the 'throw everything that is not absolutely necessary overboard so that we don't capsize' sort of way. Understandable, but now looking back it seems some of the 'clutter' I removed from my life is friends.

I have (had?) very good friends that I hardly talk to anymore because three years ago I trimmed chatting on the phone out of my life. To be fair to myself, I was also trimming being everyone else's counselor out of my life.

Friends that knew both of us had a lot of their own anger and shock over what had happened and understandably so. But as I found the day to day mandatory involvement with the Boy's father was mandating that I move through and past the tragedy, I also found that I couldn't emotionally handle my friends' needs to process their stuff. It was hard enough to process my own, and quite often when they were at anger I was at acceptance. When they were in the 'why' phase, I was in the 'move on' phase. And it was just too very painful to go back.

Answering the why's and the what if's for them became a load I could no longer bear and so I decluttered those conversations from my life. Sadly that meant that I, for the most part, removed them too.

I'm not sure what happens now. I have tenuous and tentative relationships with those folks and maybe that's okay. People change. Lives change.

What I am more concerned about is how many of those protective filters I still have in place to keep the clutter of relationships out of my life. After experiencing deep hurt, rejection and betrayal from some in my last context I am wary of having such a strong filter in place that I am unable to connect on a deeper level with anyone who is left or new in my life.

As for more personal relationships (meaning outside the church) - who knows. I made a bit of a snarky comment last week about my life's need for staff, but I must also admit that sometimes I think, "Really? This is it?"

And I can be ok with that.
I just don't want to filter anyone out.

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