So Why a Living Room?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day #40. (Okay, #42.) The View From The Top.

(Ha!  I wrote this post in July and realized that it has been an unpublished draft this whole time.  Better late than never, right?  So this post should be dated July 27th. It is now September 21st.)

Well, Sunday was actually day #40, but I've been wanting to write up a kind of grand finale to this 40 day journey I have been on to look up and find the joy.  I'm glad I waited, because today is garbage day, and I learned something cool this morning that feels like the cherry on top of this whole experience to help me understand what I've learned.  

I woke up early and went for a walk this morning.  (My body had other ideas, so this required some serious "mind over mattress," but I felt like I should get up and go for a walk, so after a little cajoling and encouragement, my spirit was able to convince my body to get vertical and get a move on.)  To my surprise, both of my parents cars were already gone, so with sleeping kiddos I decided to just power-walk up and back the block right in front of the house.

It's Tuesday. Garbage Day.  So everyone had their garbage cans sitting on the curb.  Recycling in the blue bin, and garbage in the black one.  There were two containers paired up in front of each house.  I thought about how the garbage gets to those cans and reflected on all the sorting we all do every day.  We sort between clean and dirty, recycling and garbage, forks and knives, or blocks and cars.  And it's not very hard to tell, right?  We just take a look at the item--empty jar of applesauce--and determine what it is and therefore where it needs to go--recycling.

As I walked along beside these garbage cans (over and over!) it got me thinking, and I heard the Holy Ghost tell me in my mind,

"This is what your joy hunt has been all about."

As is typical with impressions I get, I didn't quite understand the first time.


"This is what you've accomplished over the last 40 days.  You've been able to sort through all the events of this summer and sort through which actions and feelings will produce joy, and then kick the rest to the curb.  And when you get rid of all those other feelings that belong in the garbage, you have so much more room to be able to feel joy."

Oh wow!  That's a cool idea!  (I love it, I can hear the roar of the garbage truck, as we speak, going from house to house, beeping backwards and dumping.  PERFECT.)  I reflected on the events of the summer and realized that having such a clear focus on joy really has helped me to sort through all of my choices and has made it easier to just say,
"Oh, this is self-pity.  That doesn't go in the joy bin, so I have to just chuck it." 
"Oh, I know what this is.  This is anger.  That doesn't go in my joy bin, so I'm tossing it." 
What a blessing!  As I walked by the garbage cans and imagined what all the houses would look like inside if they didn't participate in the daily ritual of sorting and the weekly ritual of emptying the cans, I pictured entire rooms full of junk, and people tripping over cereal boxes, and kitchens smelling like old food, and bedrooms smelling like stinky diapers, and yuck yuck yuck.  That physical stuff is mostly obvious to us.  But what if we don't participate in the daily ritual of sorting out our choices and the weekly ritual of getting rid of the ones that don't go in the joy bin?  Well, we get bogged down with things like frustration, and fear, and hatred, and we start tripping over resentment and ingratitude, and envy and bitterness can bring a gagging aroma into our lives that makes us miserable and negatively affects everyone around us.

So I'm now thinking about the garbage truck.  There are a few conditions about the removal of your garbage, right?  It's illegal to just go chucking your stuff in some random dumpster.  You have to be signed up for the service, you have to have a certain kind of garbage can, you have to set it out at the right time, but if you do, then your garbage is permanently removed from your life.  You never have to deal with it ever again.   I felt this morning, in a surprising and delightful way, the reality of those principles for my spiritual life.  I don't need to just wish and hope that I will someday be able to get rid of negative feelings and sins.  I just need to keep sorting through daily, what things are of God and what things aren't, and then give up whatever doesn't tend toward joy.  Once I let go, God can permanently remove those things from my life. They can be gone forever in some spiritual landfill that I will never see.  As I go to church each week to take the sacrament, I can think of it as spiritually taking out the garbage.  I can take time to have sorted through the things that I have done and said and felt and thought, determine which things need to be chucked, and then ask the Lord to take them away.  I can set my sins on the curb, and He has the power to do the rest. 

As I finished my walk, I found myself asking,  

"what are some feelings I have right now that I need to throw away today?"

And of course a few things came to my mind, and the Holy Ghost helped me to recognize them for what they are, and I felt a desire to just get rid of them.  So I'm setting them out on the curb today.

 Well, I feel like I could keep writing about this for hours, (I'm imagining in my head what resentment would actually look like if we could pick it up to sort it--would it be slimy and drippy so we'd hold it with just two fingers, or would it be heavy and awkward, so we have to drag it backwards?  How about fear? What would it look like?)  but those sleeping kiddos are awake and life is moving on.  :)

So I am signing off from the blogging world for awhile.  This week we are getting ready to make the drive to Colorado, and then on Saturday we will be moved in to our new house, reunited with Kyle, and getting to start the beginning of the rest of our lives!  I'm excited.  And also grateful for the slower pace of life I've enjoyed over the last few weeks, and the things I've learned that I'm hoping to take with me.  I feel like I've climbed a mountain, and now I'm standing at the top for a few minutes just enjoying the view.

 Time to hike back down and get to work!!  But I think I'm going to be on a joy hunt for the rest of my life...


Kristin said...

I've just been catching up on your posts, Emily, and holy cow. You have a really remarkable talent for getting beautiful insights out of everyday life. I have like 5 different paragraphs of yours I think I'm going to cut and paste somewhere so I can remember them. Thanks.