A Glimpse into the Irreplaceable Past

22 Sep


Sprawling across the front lawn belonging to a 75-ish woman, yesterdays Yard Sale was the result of the mental planning and great physical efforts of two other women, one 45-ish, the other 35-ish. The 40-something gem is a jewel of a woman of whom such a description aptly fits, but the same could be said of the others relative to the fact that one is her mother, and the other, her best friend.

The odd duck in the lot was me, the 65-ish old chick who lives next door to the gem and her best friend.  I was propped up by the presence of my own best friend, Rick, my husband, who attended the foray in the capacity of muscle, security, neighbor, buddy, and loyal assistant.

The day was perfectly beautiful with bright shining sun and a slight breeze, and temperatures’ ranging from the low 60’s to low 70’s.  Having decided to forego listing our sale in the classifieds, the weather proved our best advertisement, drawing sleepy heads, weary of too many days of unseasonable heat, out of their air-conditioned caves and back into the streets in search of community.

It was a very good day to make new friends, which we did, but what impressed me most was the symbology of the items we’d each chosen to sell.  It was a clear representation of the past in a spectrum of odd collections displayed in a mishmash fashion across plastic tables, in acknowledgement of sentimental journeys spanning generations.

Each item we discarded was a piece of our individual and collective pasts.  I can’t speak for the others, but I’d struggled for weeks culling out cabinets and closets trying to come to terms with letting go of objects that represented my past in a genuine effort to simplify the present.  For me, nothing is simply what it appears to be; that small glass bowl with its etched lid is the party I hosted when I was 25 and all my girlfriends were nearly weightless in joy and anticipation of the futures they’d planned.  It was toddlers toddling around our knees, picking cookies off dainty trays and eating them with the kind of zeal only a child can express.

etched jar

The two decorated stacking boxes were freedom at 51, they were inner courage surfacing, lust and excitement coming of age when I felt for the very first time, it was finally my turn.  Putting price tags on them for $2.50 and $4.00 seemed a slap in the face to the most extreme journey I’d taken in my life.

The end tables were tradition.  The handmade Christmas ornaments are hopes I once held for a houseful of grandchildren clamoring each holiday season to help Nonnie and Newt decorate their tree.

I know in my head, none of these items are actually pieces of my identity, only small material representations of dreams I’ve dreamt and discarded along the way as the path turned one way and then another, and each old ideal diminished in the face of a new and far brighter reality.

identity art

But the struggle to release is real.  It’s a mother entering the winter of her life finally realizing she simply must cut the cord and set her grown children completely free to flounder and fall before soaring amongst the stars in the boundless sky.  It’s burying a dead ex-husband and allowing the truth to exist by accepting that each flaw in the relationship helped you learn how to fill the tiny cracks that kept you fractured from the deepest, most authentic aspects of yourself.

It is understanding how embracing the hard times and then letting them go, strengthens your fortitude, making it easier to face the deep unknown.

It’s not a tattered old crocheted blanket; it’s the tears you shed creating it as you divested yourself from longings that, if followed, would deeply affect your children’s lives.  It is not a silly piece of art; it’s your father’s imagination, your mother’s strong hands, your sister’s laughter, your brother’s serious side, a glimpse into the irreplaceable past.

But at the end of the day, hard choices must be made.  Sitting in the shade with new friends and the love of my life, making new friends, placing old treasures into stranger’s hands, I’m cutting loose threads of the past in order to create a clearer path for today.  Even so, late in the day, when a man hassles me over the price of my two decorated boxes, I pass on the deal, deciding to keep this particular symbol for myself.

The seasons of our lives are not loved and respected because of successes we enjoy, nor are they despised and weakened by the challenges we face, but are to be richly honored for moving us each closer to authenticity and the inner sanctuary of unconditional love and absolute peace.

The wise know without the storm, there would be no majestic cliff from which to stand and observe the seemingly random, yet perfectly organized chaos of changing weather.  Without rapids in the river, sharp ridges would not be tamed into smooth stone. Yesterdays’ Yard Sale brought five people together uniting their pasts by sharing and releasing a variety of personal treasures.  These treasures attracted other collectors, and in the process relative strangers journeys’ intersected in an act of true community.

Last night I dreamed I was in a boat that was being carried by rushing currents through a narrow river stream.  Branches from a forest of trees created a low canopy that was ominous.  I could feel my heart beat faster and faster as the water drew my small boat closer to the obstacles ahead, but just as I was about to be hit in the face by a branch, it would suddenly arch toward the sky, freeing my way.  For miles I traveled watching the beautiful spectacle.  My daughters were standing on either side of the riverbed, each peaceful and smiling.  They waved as I passed, then turned and walked away.

I saw my deceased ex-husband on a hill.  He was standing with Rick.  As I approached, he shook Rick’s hand and then faded away.  Rick walked to the edge of the shore, waiting for me; then he slipped easily into my boat.  Suddenly the boat was a ship, and the sea lay open and inviting before us.  And when I awoke this morning, I swear I could taste salt on my lips and hear waves breaking on shore.  Yesterday was a beautiful season.  So is today.

season tree

  And I know tomorrow will be too, no matter when it begins or how long it stays.


19 Responses to “A Glimpse into the Irreplaceable Past”

  1. Main Street Musings Blog September 23, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    Been there–what we choose to keep and what we discard makes for an interesting study!

    • ittymac September 23, 2013 at 8:22 am #

      It certainly does! Thanks so much for dropping by. I appreciate your time and thoughts.

  2. Gypsy September 23, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    Your deeply introspective and painfully unprotected essays are always inspiring for me to look into my life. Instead of building layers of protection as I have aged, my inner wisdom has led me to become more raw and sensitive. I am often dissapointed by others, as they see people as things to be used, and when you limit their use of your psyche they dissapear from your life. It leads to a lonely path, but I can’t live through self-delusion and faaking it, until you make it logic, since that only leads to less authenticity. I walk through life with no defences, harming none. It is often a lonely trip. I go to a support group for the highly sensitive types and struggle to continue to be authentic. I left my husband to move back to my house, because I needed to self heal. Many adjuncts to his life are detrimental to my soul, although I like our time together. I hope that he can grow to understand, and visit me, honoring my inability to deal with his problems on a constant basis. I think blogging would be very valuable to me. Now my best joy is sitting on my porch in the cool weather, back to smoking but not over-using, just enjoying the experience and how much my cats love it when I visit their world.

    • ittymac September 23, 2013 at 11:54 am #

      Your comment says it all. Many people spend their lives trying to make others happy. If you chose authenticity, those same people may not understand & can be quick to judge. The older I get, the less I care about what others think my life should look like. Yes, you are often alone, but never lonely if you are comfortable with yourself and content to keep going deeper inside. I am. I have a rich inner life and I’m not afraid to lay my truths on the line. Thank you SO much for sharing… Sorry you had to make a difficult choice….but proud you based the decision on something as healthy as your own well-being.

  3. theinnerzone September 24, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    Such an introspective, profound post. I should book mark it to re-read it.

    • ittymac September 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

      Thank you 😊 so much.

      • Tracy October 3, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

        I am going to as well!!! It’s absolutely beautiful!!

      • ittymac October 3, 2013 at 8:45 pm #


      • ittymac October 3, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

        Thanks Tracy!

  4. Archita September 29, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Hi Itty , I have to admit , I read your post twice , first time – loved it , second time – loved it more. I am sure I will read again. It is a literary master piece and no one could have expressed it more beautifully. 🙂

  5. Archita September 29, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    Hi Itty , I have to admit , I read your post twice , first time – loved it , second time – loved it more. I am sure I will read again. It is a literary master piece and no one could have expressed it more beautifully.:)

    • ittymac September 29, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

      That’s the nicest comment I’ve ever received. From my heart, thank you.

  6. Theresa October 2, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    This is an absolutely beautiful, profoundly moving post, with so very much I can identify with. There is much wisdom, here, no doubt won at great cost. Thank you for baring your soul – it shines. Please see: http://soulgatherings.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/who-will-remember/ and http://soulgatherings.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/of-ladybugs-and-dragonflies-and-love/.

    • ittymac October 2, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      Amazing story. It resonates perfectly with my experiences and beliefs. Thank you for visiting my site. I hope you return soon. Itty

      • Theresa October 2, 2013 at 11:40 am #

        Thank you for following the link. I’ll be back!

  7. theempathyqueen October 2, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    B ~ this is so amazing and incredible, words are insufficient to cradle that which you have birthed in this concept. Someday I hope that my “ship” comes in and I can discard that which no longer serves me to reach for a brighter shore.

    • ittymac October 2, 2013 at 11:52 am #

      To sort of summarize Oprah’s philosophy back in the day, perhaps you had it all along… I suggest that you already possess that preverbal ship, and it’s in a constant state of motion emerging from your deepest, most profound spiritual depths.

  8. ittymac September 26, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    Thanks girlfriend.


  1. A Glimpse into the Irreplaceable Past | ForgivingDreams - September 26, 2013

    […] A Glimpse into the Irreplaceable Past. […]

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