Monday, February 6, 2012

Facing the Void

So, I am cleaning out my house. Closet by closet, every drawer, every cabinet, cubby hole, nook and cranny. Luckily, I have the help of 2 friends who have an “organizing” business. I am by no means a “collector”, but I am amazed at the amount of STUFF that has accumulated over 25 years in that house.

As excited as I am about lightening my load, I feel myself strangely unmoored in the process. Getting rid of vestiges of the past is surprisingly unsettling and more difficult than I had imagined. Everything I see or touch has connections to me, my children, ex-husbands, dogs, cats—most of whom are ghosts long gone. The pantry where Leslie and Sara played, the now useless Walt Disney VHS Movies, the children’s books that I read to my girls, school uniforms, class pictures, soccer socks, dress-up clothes, the doll house in the attic…….each of these relics tugs at my heart and begs to be saved from destruction. What will happen when they are gone? Will that piece of my life disappear, will I lose the memories without the physical touchstones they provide? What will fill the void?

And speaking of voids, I can’t help but think of our teens during this process. Many show up with only a trash bag of belongings. No past relics to remind them of who they are, no photos, no connection to their former lives. I can’t imagine how unmoored they must feel, how disconnected. Luckily for them, we can be the touchstone they need to build good memories, to build a positive past, present, and future, and to come home to.

I’m surprised at my reaction to cleaning out my house, but keeping the most important relics will help me get through it. I hope that is what we help our teens do…..ferret out and keep the most important relics from their pasts to guide their present and future—whether they be physical items, memories, hopes, or dreams. If we accomplish that, we will surely have filled that void of disconnectedness that all of our teens struggle with.

Have a great week!

No comments:

Post a Comment