from Rachel: Absolution

Dearest Rachel –

Normally, I would put one of your notes up on Sunday morning, as they mostly come from sermon notes and bible studies. But upon discovering this barely half an hour before Jan was to arrive this morning, I had to include it here and now:

From a sermon note in December 2018 on making resolutions:
“I know my messes have taken over the house.
“I need to not just pick at it a little, but attack it vigorously as a full-time job with some deep cleaning and reordering.
“I need to put aside/defeat laziness and pride.”

It’s as if, after the awful up-and-down of the past two days, you let me find this to affirm to what everyone else has been telling me about this whole intensive cleanup effort: that I’m doing the right thing. Up until now, I could intellectually agree with what people were saying, but in my heart and soul, I feared I was going against what you might have wished. And in fairness, if you were here, I wouldn’t be disposing of your clothing, in any event (I’d add further comment here, but I suspect it might be considered inappropriate. Feel free to insert whatever ‘wink-wink, nudge-nudge’ remark you might expect me to make about any lack of clothing on your part).

But I consider this your granting me absolution for doing what it seems I have to do, and Jan sees this as you giving your blessing to the efforts you never had the chance to undertake. After all, it was barely three months later that your mom passed away, and we were suddenly up to our eyelids in the stuff that you/we brought back from their house, as we tried to consolidate all the memorabilia they left behind. Sure, Cousin Sara Lee took a fair amount for herself, but we were still dealing with the lion’s share of your parents’ stuff. Add to that what we still had from when Sally moved away so many years ago, not to mention stuff from Ellen’s friend Karla, and the things Kerstin used to bring over that you couldn’t bring yourself to throw out, and we had four or five households’ worth of stuff under one roof! No wonder we’ve needed three dumpster loads to even so much as bring the chaos under control!

Not that many people would say it was under control even now. But compared to what it looked like when you left us, they would be amazed.

And yet, when we were going through your luggage set in order to donate it (let’s face it, honey – neither Daniel nor I are going to lug around a couple of purple suitcases when we have perfectly serviceable blue and black ones of our own), we discovered a bag with this note written on it:

Had you planned to bring home burnables from our travels?

Even later, when we found a what we thought might be a second key for your car, and I tested in out (it was, by the way), I noticed a bag in the passenger’s side footwell containing this jar:

I’d really like to know what you had planned for… a jar of dryer lint?

I’m sure you had your reasons, but without any context, I cannot fathom what purpose this might have served. And so, taking your old note as permission, I have disposed of this, as well as the previous bag. And hopefully someone will find a good use for the luggage, as well.

Thank you for your blessing, darling… and thank You, Lord, for granting it to me at this moment when I was truly beginning to worry about causing offense. This is a sign that I – we? – are on the right path, after all, and I am so grateful to know it.

I’ll keep you posted on progress, honey. Until later…

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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