I love Danish Teak furniture. Of course, when I had a lounge full of the stuff in the 90’s Teak was really cheap. Now I want to have some in my home again it costs a fortune, it’s six times the price it was in the 90’s! So imagine my joy when I saw a Teak Sideboard, perfect condition, advertised for £30. (If we had the space I’d have had the beautiful table and chairs too). Chris went with a friend to collect it and it looks wonderful in the living room.
Of course it replaces three large sets of drawers which were crammed full of stuff, much of which had to go. A cd player that ran on 110v. Toiletries collected from various hotel trips (long since out of date). Tablets and lotions also well past their sell by date. Clothes no longer worn. A small salt room dehumidifier. An american 110v hairdryer Chris got free with a bottle of something – and not used in 15 years. Despite having had a clear out just two months ago all this stuff was still there and went to the bin, recycling, or charity.
And oh, the sense of loss! I used that cd player for retreats. I bought that T-Shirt at New York Pride. I used to wear that watch all the time. A good friend bought me that diary.
There’s lots of reasons why I feel such loss. I was brought up in a world where I had to work for everything I wanted, and nothing ever got thrown away. It was also a world where you were defined by what you owned. There was a shame to not having anything, being poor – my working class family struggling to be seen as middle class. Atop of which there are memories attached to it all.
In the church we’re still in the season of Easter. Holy week seems such a long time ago but the season of Easter runs all the way through to Pentecost on the 15th of May. And Easter is all about change, letting go of the past and reaching for the future. And reaching for the new is such fun! A new world to explore in Christ, a new freedom, a new joy. But oh the sense of loss as we put the old behind us. I worked so hard to be seen as righteous, to get what I wanted, be respected in the world. Now those things don’t matter? What do I do with that?
We experience loss. It’s inevitable. The new is exciting but letting go of the past is never easy and there’s a process to go through. We mourn what we’ve lost, even if it doesn’t ‘fit’ us any more.
I pray that if you’re letting go of something that you’re supported through the process. Of course the pain felt at losing a hair dryer is nothing compared to losing a set of beliefs, an identity, or even our health. And saying ‘It’s going to be Ok’ is simplistic and trite. Maybe that’s why Pentecost doesn’t come until 50 days after Easter. We need a little time to let go before we can accept whatever new is coming our way. We need a little time, whether we realise it or not.