Stepping out

June 12, 2012

Getting rid of stuff in the basement is always in the back of my mind, and sometimes it comes to the front.  I was thinking about throwing out some old blinds that had been in the windows when we bought this house twenty years ago.  They’ve been in the basement for years.

Instead I threw out a couple of other things.  But here’s what got my attention:  old roller skates and an old remote-controlled airplane of Willy’s.  I know they are never going to be used again, so unlike the window blinds, there’s no issue of “Will I ever use these again?”  It’s not that they have sentimental value that makes me not want to throw them out, it’s that I will probably forget how Willy rollerskated to graduate school when I met him, how the Jeshions got me skates for my graduation, and how Willy and I skated on the flat part of Beacon Hill behind where we lived between Charles Street and the river.  I will probably not remember how Willy built and flew those planes, often taking Jordan with him up to Robbins Farm to fly them.  I don’t want to lose access to those memories.

Something in me wonders whether I need to let go of the past in order to step into the future.  I can hear myself saying, “No, I want something in the future to beckon to me first, before I let go of the past.”  But I suspect it doesn’t work like that, I suspect I have to let go first.  And I don’t much trust that there will be a future better than this past I like remembering, so that doubting part of me figures I might as well hold onto the objects and the memories.

And then I think to myself that maybe this is something like faith: you have to jump without external assurance there’s water below or firm ground beneath or a staircase to climb (many metaphors I’ve heard).  I’m much better about this with my spiritual life, I don’t have too much faith in the physical world or trust in people.  I should, I think — it’s not that I think it’s cool or helpful not to trust in this world — but I know I have trouble with that.  My drive home from NJ last month reinforced my sense that I end up in dangerous situations because my needs in this world don’t get met and that my only help is from the universe.  Gita reminded me that at least I know how to access that help.

I can see the letting-go-of-the-past more as a challenge to be handled if I notice the parallel between it and other people’s struggles with spiritual faith.  If I would like to see them find their faith of that sort, then maybe I should figure out how to locate my own in the mundane future.

I actually have a compromise in mind, one I learned from Lisa (Jeshion) Kleiman years ago, that I’m hoping might work as a partial step forward.  Lisa pointed out to me that it’s easier to resist the temptation to save old but cute baby clothes if one takes a photo of the child in the outfit.  In this current situation I’m in, I am thinking that maybe taking a few pictures might help me through a transition and make it easier for me to throw out the skates and the plane now.  It’s a thought.


One Response to “Stepping out”

  1. Richard Says:

    Perhaps the kids would like the plane. Sounds like fun. I don’t have as much hope for roller skates, but that’s just me.
    My dad had a large stamp collection. 20-30 large binder full of loose stamps ordered by countries, P.O. new issue sheets which still have face vale (I could mail letters the rest of my life for free) and ”covers” which are themes with certain stamps attached as a prepackaged arrangement. The latter are the most popular among current collecters, none of whom are younger than age 70 from my experience. I got rid of most of his stuff as time went on. These are the hardest to part with. He started collecting as a teenager and picked it up again full force in retirement. The collection represents a large essence of who he was.At one time he told me the collection was worth a lot of money, but in the age of the internet and e-bay I don’t think so anymore. More importantly i desire to give the to a good home. Someone who will get enthused about having them. My neighbor is of Russian ancestry who flew planes in the military. He was excited about stamps of those themes and I gladly gave them to him. The local Catholic priest did cartwheels about some Vatican stamps. Ditto.
    This weekend I’m loading them all in my Subaru and going to a hotel where these collectors meet to buy and sell quarterly.I’m hoping to treat the process with a spiritual reverence in hopes that they find a new owner who will want them with the same enthusiasm he had.That will complete the cycle and keep the energy of life going. I hope. I think that’s all you can do.Some things are just material ”stuff” and some things represent more.

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