I pulled out a box of mine yesterday. It contained a whole bunch of stuff from years ago, colored pictures, birthday cards, encouraging letters from friends.
It was a large box full. Since I’m sorting out my life and getting rid of excess, I thought maybe I would see if there was anything I could part with.
I started emptying the box, and soon I was sitting in a pile of paper.I picked up the letters and cards and started reading them, and I felt happy, surrounded by so much encouragement and happy memories.
Then I picked up a letter from a friend that I no longer call friend–that I no longer have any contact with. And I didn’t just feel happy.
A lot of the notes I have, I still keep in touch with the people who wrote them. But some of the people who wrote notes to me don’t anymore.
Some of their lives fell apart, and there wasn’t anything left for me to hold on to anymore. Some asked me not to write them anymore. A couple of them never really invested in friendship with me, and I didn’t try too hard to keep in touch.
But I had still been holding on to these letters, from people I no longer knew.
It was bittersweet–some of the memories I had with them were good, and I didn’t want to part with that. I wanted to remember them how I knew them before, instead of how they were now.
But that couldn’t escape me, holding those letters. I knew where they were now and that made me sad.
I took a breath holding those letters–and reached out, and placed them in the trash bag.
I let them go, because I realized that the letters were just cluttering my space with stuff I didn’t really care about, and the memories of those people–the good and the bad–were a part of me.
Everyone that I had ever knew even slightly had their name etched on my being. They are part of who I am now.
The good in them made me encouraged and happy. The bad taught me lessons and made me stronger.
And letting go of the past makes me freer.