“We have to sell everything, we can’t take any of it with.”
His words hung in the air, swirling around my head.
“We have to sell it ALL? Everything? Even my Entertainment Center?” I remember feeling like I was going to throw up. I knew he was right. In the center of my soul I knew he was right. We had fourteen days to move out of our apartment, we had no where to live. We had no choice but to free ourselves from most of our belongings simply because we didn’t have the space to take them and we didn’t know where we were going to end up living.
With a painful pit in my stomach I started to walk around our apartment with my camera taking photographs of all our large items to sell on Craigs List. First our bedroom set, then our couch and loveseat. Next was the coffee table, side tables and console table in our living room and then my beautiful desk from our office. Sophie’s desk was second to last and then my beloved Entertainment Center. I remember my hands shaking as I typed each listing.
“FAMILY EMERGENCY SALE! MUST GO NOW!” was the title on every listing. Hot tears were pouring down my face into a puddle of self pity right onto the very desk I was about to sell for nearly nothing.
Never in my life have I felt so stripped bare of everything I identified with. My stuff was vanishing right out our front door. The very “stuff” that made our house a home. The stuff I purchased ever so delicately as I would envision our family using it for years to come. As each person would show up to pick up a piece I felt like a clump of my heart was being torn away with cruel fingers. Helping them load our stuff into their vehicles was particularly painful. I remember thinking,” Wow this is sickening. I’m helping you load my couch into your truck because my husband was just fired and we have to move out of our home into the terrifying unknown, but YOU go ahead and enjoy the very couch I cuddled my babies on. The couch I watched late night movies with my husband on. The couch we sat and cried on when we found out Jon’s grandmother died. Here you go! Take away a slice of our life! Have a nice day!”
I would stand in our apartment complex parking lot and watch each stranger drive off with a hunk of my life. It was like a pitiful movie was rolling and I couldn’t leave the theater because I was the star. If Jon losing his job was soul crushing, then having to move out of our home in fourteen days was nearly crippling and having to sell all the stuff we identified with was like rubbing our noses in our pathetic situation. Humbling wouldn’t even begin to describe it. It felt mean. It felt cruel. It felt like a lonely ache that was so twisted and I could not see how it would ever be okay again. With each email notification I’d get asking for a pick up time, my emotions would sway between deep despair and anger. Trying to keep my cool around my children surely should get me an Oscar nomination because everything about the mother they were witnessing was not authentic. I remember telling myself, “smile, smile, smile just smile” because if I’d speak, my voice would shake as I tried to answer their innocent questions.
“Mommy, where are we going?”
“Daddy, who just took my drawing desk? Where will I work on my art?”
“Who’s that guy who just took our tables?”
“Why are we packing so fast?”
One question after the other felt like bullets whizzing by my head. I’d reply as cheerfully as I could, but the honest truth was that I was having the same exact questions myself. And I’d repeat a similar rotation of questions to God every night.
The only answer I could muster would be one that my husband and I would try to echo during the day. “We aren’t sure where we are going girls! But it’s going to be an incredible adventure and we are going to have SO much fun!”
Fake it till you feel it was our mantra during those moments. And eventually, as the days went on, our faith-which was only a tiny flutter in our hearts, slowly grew into a fountain.
Looking back two years ago, we felt that our entire identity was being ripped away from us.
We were actually being reborn into who we were always meant to be.
What I know now is that it wasn’t the stuff that made us a family. It wasn’t the stuff that made our house a home.
It was us.
I look back on it now with a slightly elevated perspective. I liken it to when a child has their favorite toy taken away from them. I know my children have had holy fits of epic proportions when they have had any of their treasured stuff taken from them. And I realize now that it is because the child identifies with the stuff. They feel that they are ONE with the stuff, therefore taking it away from them means you are taking a piece of them with you. Just as I thought I was ONE with my Entertainment Center, my child feels emotionally connected to her blanket…..it’s impossible for the separation to be realized on their own.
God had to teach me that I am not my Entertainment Center, or my desk, or my throw pillows, or my favorite bedroom set. As each piece of our stuff was going out our door, I felt like I was dying but I realized I was building strength. My truth of who I am was pushing toward the surface and that kind of growth isn’t comfortable. God had to show me that I am made of pure Source Energy, the very energy that is from our Creator pumps through my veins and I am not bound by these earthly piles of stuff. Just as I have to teach my child that she is not ONE with the Ipad. God had to teach me that my true purpose and potential was resting inside of me all along. I had to be free from the stuff in order to have my heart open for the blessings he was going to bestow upon us. Wandering around, being weighed down by the piles of stuff which I felt was “me” was keeping me in a prison.
The real magic began the moment we made the choice to let go and trust that we were being guided.
We made the crazy decision to leave the Twin Cites and begin a new life in my small home town area in Wisconsin. Not because it made any sense. Not because it sounded safe. Not because we were running away.
We did it because it felt right.
It just felt right.
And even though we had people who doubted our decision. People who told us that life would be so much easier for us if we stayed. They gave us all the “logical” reasons it would make sense. Money, Job placement, Sugar Wood. All of these reasons still didn’t feel right to us. Moving to Wisconsin felt right. Moving to Wisconsin felt real. And moving to Wisconsin was the choice we made because we were letting go of our physical “stuff” as well as our emotional “stuff” and we were trusting God to lead this show now.
Would you like to hear the coolest part of the story?
The home we found to rent was a fully furnished home. Fully Furnished. Already full of stuff for us to enjoy. Now if that wasn’t a “God moment” for me I don’t know what was. Right there I found my very first piece of tangible evidence that we are going to be okay. In all ways. In more ways than we ever imagined. We are being carried by God. I stopped my search for proof right after I stepped foot into the most beautiful fully furnished rental home we could have ever hoped for. I made an oath that day to trust God’s guidance.
And now that guidance which is my intuition simmers in my soul like an internal GPS. My self doubt has settled a bit because I’ve begun the journey of discovering who I really am. I lean on my intuition when I’m feeling vulnerable. I know how it feels to know now and I don’t doubt that knowing-ness anymore.
It feels light and right.
It feel breezy and easy.
It feels simple and pure.
And I know with every pitter patter of this heart, that having let go of our stuff was the very first step toward fully embracing the possibility of the life we have always dreamed of. There is always more stuff. It’s around every corner. The stuff isn’t real. The stuff isn’t you. You are not your Iphone. You are not your BMW. You are not your wedding ring. You are not your job. You are not your Coach purse. You are not your bank account. You are not your house.
You are you. A pure and glowing spirit full of possibility here on earth to shine bright and share your gifts.
How we make each other feel is real. Your memories are real. Your legacy is real. Your honesty is real. Your integrity is real. Your compassion is real. Your ambition is real. Your love is real. Your soul is real.
And this is real.
These cloud watching cuties are real. And I know that the four us are going to be just fine as we travel this terrain together, as long as we have each other.