I've run in places that have been devastated by forest fires. Every time we drive through our little town, each little volunteer firehouse has a sign informing us of the current fire danger. We are to inform the fire station before we use our firepit each time. Getting home insurance is no easy task due to the risk of fire. All of these situations are constant reminders that the danger of a forest fire exist here, too.
I've been thinking about that a lot lately. Watching a wall of fire take out the trees that whisper to me so sweetly with the gentle breezes and howl when a new weather system blows in like a freight train. Seeing the devastation later. Picking up the pieces.
When a forest fire finally sputters out, the charred remains of a glorious forest seem to be all that remain. Toothpick remnants of majestic trees and exposed animal burrows. Raw. Hot. Dead.
But then something beautiful happens. Green growth peeks through. Seeds germinate. New animal habitats are formed. Destruction and death become growth and life.
I've been thinking about that in my life. What parts of me need to die so that there is a space for newness? What parts of me need to be put to the fire so that new pieces of me germinate?
With each child and each passing year, I have gotten more and more disorganized. I rearrange piles, but never take the time to purge unused, outgrown, and unwanted items. I walk into the house and drop things in random spots. It has gotten to the point that I am wasting money buying things I know I have somewhere in this pit of a home I have created and time because I am searching for items that I cannot find when I need them. I do not like having people over because of the mess. In short, it has gotten out of hand. This piece of me has to die so that I have room for the people, relationships, passions, and things that really matter to me.
I am working on it. Oh, boy, it is a challenge, but it is a necessary change in my life. On Friday, my mom took the four kids to the Museum of Nature and Science, and I spent the day cleaning out the entryway, closet, living room, and dining room, and got a good start on my archenemy, the playroom/schoolroom. I am throwing a lot of things away, donating many other items, and making sure that everything that stays has a place and that we can all find that place easily. Did I say challenge? Yes. This goes against my very nature. But the other way is no longer working for me. It has to go. I need space for beautiful things to grow and that cannot happen in this mess.
I spend too much time on Facebook. There. I said it. My excuse is that I am home without another grown-up for many hours, weeks, and months of the year, so it is my communication with the outside world. My excuse is that with so many family members and friends back in MN, that is my mode of communication with them.
In truth, so much time on there prevents me from doing some of the things I need to be doing here, and, yes, keeping my house in order is one of them! In truth, spending so much time on there prevents me from the reading and writing and laughing and living that I want to be doing here. I don't have a smart phone, so when I am away, I am away, but when I am home, I am pretty plugged in, and who wants to look at a mama with her face in the computer? In truth, the upcoming elections are causing me quite a lot of stress, and seeing the chatter on facebook is an absolute detriment to my mental health. (that sounds like an exaggeration, but it really is not.) In truth, I do things and automatically think of how I would caption the picture or something funny happens and I think of how I'll explain it. That's weird. I mean, really, if I go to a concert with my kids, but don't post about it on Facebook, did it really happen? Why do I need people to know what I did? Why do I require that validation that I'm doing ok? Why do I feel like everyone's marriage is better than mine and everyone gets to fly to a beautiful beach for spring break and everyone has cute stitch fix clothes, and I'm just sitting here wearing pajama pants covered in dog hair with a big zit on my chin in my messy house with a basement that will never get finished and that still doesn't have window coverings in some (most) of the bedrooms? I am not in junior high; this stuff shouldn't matter to me, and the vast majority of it didn't matter to me before social media.
Last night I saw a political video that just about threw me over the edge. I decided then that I needed to step back from social media for a while. I needed some time to rearrange my priorities, let other people bash each other about how they hang their toilet paper or the proper pronunciation of New Orleans, or some other nonsensical argument that will never ever ever be resolved on social media. I jest, of course. But really, the hate that I see and read about the November elections, the comments I read about the Women's National Basketball League after the Lynx won the championships, the vulgarity that is posted about nude selfies and sex tapes are far outweighing the benefits of easily staying in touch with people and laughing about miniature giraffe videos. My mind just can't handle that much hatred anymore. I feel fragile, wavering in my knowledge that light really does overpower dark, that love really can overcome hate. So I am walking away from social media for as long as necessary so that I have room for love to take hold and overwhelm me and pour forth from me and find a home within my soul.
I don't know. I'm just this big work in progress and I think progress has stalled. So I will let go of the things that are holding me back, as hard as that is, so that I have room for new growth. It is all I can think to do. One step at a time.
I will let the wildfires burn within so that fresh greenery can push through the charred pieces of myself.