Just Throw It Away!

Oct 4, 2017 by

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Last week, I threw something away that I’d been hanging onto for a long time. It wasn’t a thing exactly; it was a piece of the past that I’d analyzed to death until it became a waste of energy. Some stories will never make sense. It’s interesting what happens when we stop trying to figure out what will never make sense: we recognize the warped ideas that came with it–beliefs that my more charismatic friends would call “lies from the pit of hell,” and suddenly we want those gone too.

Later that day, I pictured myself untangling one of the partial skeins of leftover yarn that I blogged about in January (you can read or reread that story here)—the one that took me an hour to work out all the knots—the one I called my metaphor for life. Only this time, I looked at the mess in my hands and heard a voice say, “Just throw it away. It’s not worth it.” And I did. Instead of feeling guilty for wasting perfectly good yarn (that I probably bought at Wal-Mart in Sanora for $3.99), tossing it in the trash brought a strange sense of relief that I didn’t have to work out those knots anymore.

Maybe next time I find a tangled partial skein of inexpensive yarn I’ll throw it away just to see if it really feels that good.

“Imagine what you will be able to do with the extra space in your brain now that that junk is gone!” a friend told me on Saturday when I shared a tiny bit of what I’d realized.

Yeah, imagine!

Some things are best thrown away.

Some things are best thrown away. Click To Tweet

I would ask Why do we hang onto them in the first place, and in my mind, I have, but I think the answer is simple: we have to be ready, because it’s our stuff, our story, and for some crazy reason, it’s important to us.

I remembered a pair of boots that I had the last time combat boots were in style for women. My husband (at the time) hated those boots! What he hated most about them was that I insisted on keeping them long after they stopped being suitable for public wear. They’d cost more than $30, which meant they were expensive shoes! They were comfortable and looked great with jeans and long flowy skirts, or once they were past their prime, certain Halloween costumes. If I needed a pair of old shoes I had those! I polished them repeatedly. I paid to have the heals re-attached when they started coming apart and super glue no longer did the trick.

Every time I came home with a new pair of shoes, my husband got a hopeful look on his face and asked, “Are you going to throw away those old boots now?”

“No. They’re my favorite boots.”

“But don’t you throw away a pair of old shoes whenever you buy new ones?”

“I’ll throw another pair of shoes. I’m keeping those, FOREVER, just to torture you.”

Then one day, the heals started to break again, and I realized I’d probably paid more for shoe repair than the boots originally cost. They looked hideous, so I was probably torturing not only my husband but every person who had to see them on my feet with an otherwise cute outfit. Because the heels kept coming apart they’d become a tripping hazard. Were they really worth the possible injury and recovery time?

So I threw them away. I made a big production out of it for my husband.

I expected to miss those boots. I didn’t. They’d gone out of style anyway.

I just needed to be ready. It needed to be my idea and not my husband’s. I needed to see how ridiculous they looked with new jeans, and get tired of feeling the heel pull away when I took them off. I needed to almost trip and realize which bones might have broken if God hadn’t sent an angel to steady me, and wonder if at some point He stopped intervening on behalf of those who refused to part with what should have gone in the trash long ago.

I’m keeping these thoughts in mind as I continue to let go of the “lies from the pit of hell” that came with the story that finally needed to go, and whatever else needs to be thrown out next.

Why do we hold onto what probably needs to go in the thrash, whether it’s a memory, a complicated story from the past, old clothes that we haven’t looked at in three seasons, or tangled leftover craft supplies? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories, including what happened when you finally threw that thing away.

Why do we hold onto what probably needs to go in the thrash? Click To Tweet

 

 

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