My husband and I decided to empty out a huge storage unit, which we had kept for ten years. Of course, we didn’t think we would keep it for ten years. No one intends to spend thousands of dollars on a storage unit. We intended to clear it out years ago. We just didn’t have an attic or a basement; we lived in a studio apartment for ten years. Now, we were emptying out a storage unit that was full from floor to ceiling. Just to sort through it, we had to rent another storage unit to have room to put sorted items: things to ship to our new home, things to trash, and things to donate. We needed room to do this sorting. There were lots of memories attached to the items which we uncovered.
I found a peach and lace dress, which I wore as a wedding dress from a previous marriage, a marriage that had passed away a long time ago. “What’s that?” asked my husband. “Just an old dress,” I replied, as I put it carefully into a plastic bag for Good Will donations. May some woman wear it with my blessings, I calmly thought. My deceased mother’s beautiful antique chair, which she had inherited from previous generations, could be shipped to Hawaii and find a place now in our new home. It reminded me of the grief-filled trip I took as I drove her stick-shift green Saturn from Portland to San Francisco pulling a small U-Haul trailer full of her things, including the chair, back to my place after she died. It brought tears to my eyes again. Useless contents of desk drawers and files from a job eighteen years ago, I dumped into the trash.
The spiritual teacher Richard Rohr wrote about the Lord’s Prayer, “To pray and actually mean ‘thy Kingdom come,’ we must also be able to say ‘my kingdoms go.'” All the old kingdoms, domains of our lives, chapters – all of these are things of which we let go. Having recently retired from thirty-three years of having a steady paycheck and a position in a hierarchy, retirement is also letting go. My realms go in favor of a Greater Realm. Thy Realm come. May we live in this Realm with joy and freedom.