I had put it off long enough. It was time to stop making excuses and bite the bullet. So I got up early and started my least favorite job on the planet. It was time to clean out the garage. Oh joy. I just love spending the day sorting, tossing, scrubbing, and sweeping. Being bone-tired and achy afterwards is my favorite part of cleaning the garage.
I started in the toy corner. What do we need to keep? And what can I throw away? Of course we need to keep the sidewalk chalk, bubbles, bug boxes, and butterfly nets. No question about any of those. But do we really need 7 pinwheels? And 5 jump ropes? Let’s see. Two girls are too old to jump rope. And coordination disorder makes it difficult for the other two to jump rope. So I decided to keep 2 jump ropes as an act of faith that Mikayla & Hope will one day be able to use them. Hmmm. An ice cream bucket full of rocks? That’s interesting. I dumped the rocks out in the driveway to create a future opportunity to scoop rocks into an ice cream bucket.
As I made my way around the garage I made decision after decision of whether to keep it or pitch it. Some decisions were no brainers. Such as the New Holland pedal tractor that Grandpa gave Taylor on her first Christmas. No question about that one. Not parting with it under any circumstances. And then there was the garden stone with Taylor’s footprints painted on it. Definitely have to keep that. But air filters to vehicles we no longer own? And pool supplies when we no longer have a pool? Some things just don’t make sense to keep.
Everything was going smoothly until what I feared the most became reality. One of my little sweethearts woke up. She put her shoes on and she joined me in the garage. And she did what I knew she was going to do. It was the reason why I got up so early to start this dreadful job. She pulled something out of the trash can and she put it back on the shelf. Oh my, sweet Hopey. Why do you think we need to keep that? I asked her to put it back in the trash. She refused.
I was frustrated with her but I realized that she’s really just a mini-me. I’m constantly throwing stuff in the trash and then dragging it out again. Things like unforgiveness, bad attitudes, impatience, and all the why’s and what if’s of life. I know it doesn’t make sense to keep any of these things. But I’m guilty of throwing each of them away and then digging them back out again.
I’ve decided to forgive someone and I’ve thrown unforgiveness in the trash. But then I would see the person and I would drag the unforgiveness back out again. Sometimes it’s hard for feelings to catch up with forgiveness. I can picture God looking down on me and saying “My sweet Tricia. Why do you think you need to keep that? Would you please throw it away and don’t drag it back out again.” There’s no room for unforgiveness. It doesn’t make sense to keep it.
It doesn’t make sense to hold onto all of the why’s and what if’s of life either. Why’s and what if’s have haunted me for years. What if I hadn’t had so many pregnancy complications? What if our girls hadn’t been born prematurely? What if I hadn’t listened to our pediatrician when he told us that they would catch up? Would our girls still have all of these struggles even if all those things hadn’t happened? Why did God think we could handle this life? Why does life have to be so hard for our girls?
I’ve thrown every why and what if in the trash can. But for some reason I have a habit of dragging them back out again. It just doesn’t make sense to hold onto questions that can’t be answered. But it’s so hard to let go. I will probably still have moments when I’m just like Hopey. I will choose to drag something out of the trash and put it on a shelf. And God will smile at me and still love me. And He’ll patiently wait. Because He knows I will one day decide to throw it back in the trash. And maybe next time I won’t drag it back out again.