Sometimes God throws you a giant blessing if you'll only listen to what He is trying to get you to pay attention to and act on it. Yesterday, while trying to find one thing to do that could be could be done quickly so I could consider getting the house a little bit more toward straightened up, I decided to take the clothes in size OMG that I've undergrown and put them aside for someone else who is also on this journey but a few steps behind me. I figured...this is a manageable project that I can finish in an hour or so because I clean out my closet every season. Every. Season.
I put on clothes that are considered "summer attire" so to speak only to find that they are well beyond alteration and even tried on some that I was too big for a few months ago and then too small for now without ever really wearing. Like ever.
I pulled out items that actually do fit but that I've ignored because they require ironing and ironing requires time that I haven't wanted to devote to this task when it is gorgeous outside by the pool so I've just left them in there unworn and somewhat forlorn looking.
As I was trying to battle a comforter that kept slipping, I looked up and saw a box on the top shelf of my closet. It is tall (three feet high by about one and one half feet wide) and I'm sure put there by Big Dave using a ladder at some point in time because I had to use my old high school baton to push it back from the edge to get it down. I will not part with my baton. Even if the dog has chewed on one end and I haven't really twirled it in something like thirty years.
I have no memory of what is inside of this box because it has been up there for several years. Several as in four or so. Could be old blankets, papers (although unlikely) or something else but I highly suspected that it held clothes.
About four years ago, three different friends cleaned out their closets and I was present for the evacuation of two of these with the other being so incredibly disciplined that me doing it was just not necessary because she is the Queen of Getting it Done. I am usually there for closet purgings because I don't mind manual labor of that type, and sometimes you need someone to sit there with you after you've lost weight or have put off the chore for way too long and tell you to put it in the bag and quit procrastinating. That the piece with the emotional attachment is horribly out of style and unlikely to return to fashion. Like ever.
I'm fairly good at being honest about those kind of things and take it as a personal mission to either put the castoff to good use or to get it to an individual who needs it desperately but either cannot afford to shop or cannot bring themselves to face the mirrors in the dressing room at the mall. Everything else is then donated. Usually, there isn't very much left over. Which, of course, is good. I consider it a personal mission to get clothes from point A to point B with maximum blessing capacity and minimum hassle for the recipient on the other end.
Needless to say, historically, I have held on to a few things that I cannot wear any longer because I always do. Because I have been down the road of lose and gain many times and there's always that chance that I'll be there again. So, I keep them in the back of the closet like a cosmic safety net. Which is incredibly stupid in that it just invites me to yo-yo right on back up there instead of ripping that net away so that I have to stay on the wire and perform...or else.
Yesterday, I was in the process of parting with many items (something I don't really have a problem with but some of these were recently acquired as I've lost weight so I feel like I've worn them for 15 minutes.) Others were suits that I kept because they were nice and I could always wear them again.
Never mind that they were circa 2000. Yes. But it is equally true that classic styles never really go out of style. I have proof.
But back to the box. I open the flaps and find myself unprepared for the miracle that lies within.
Tons and tons of clothes in the size I currently am right now. And in the right season.
Clothes that were apparently put aside for a seasonal change many moons ago with the intention of moving them to other people that following summer. Except that they've been in the box at the top of my closet since then. Ignored. Left alone. In spite of two closet reshufflings and cleaning out everything else around it last year.
I pulled out each item and tried it on...and found out not only what happened to some items that I'd missed but thought were long since given away...but that I could finally wear everything in that box...except about five items. FIVE. Out of something like fifty.
Needless to say...I spent several hours yesterday ironing clothes. And watching the Hallmark Channel, of course. I will not need to buy many - if any - clothes this summer.
Which totally rocks, by the way.
I refilled the box - and a kitchen garbage bag - with clothes that I can no longer wear. They are going to bless (or possibly overwhelm) somebody who can use them...today.
It feels a little awkward to know that there is really nothing to wear if I go off the rails and gain weight again. But it feels right. I cannot look back and I actually look forward to boxing this current cache of clothes up and passing them on because they are too big.
Sometimes we miss blessings because they come with a warning label that says "CAUTION: TROUBLE AHEAD" - which can loosely be interpreted as "time-consuming" or "a lot of bother." I could have looked at that box the same way. Could have left it up there...an unanswered prayer sitting on the top shelf of my closet. But thankfully, I didn't. I got it down. I opened it up. I dealt with what was within.
Now there's a big blank spot where that huge box used to be. I kind of like it.
All of us have big boxes of something in our lives. Sometimes it is a box of grief or a box of pain. A box of past successes or a box of dreams that died. It may be a box of unrealized hopes or a box of sheets that you inherited from your grandmother's linen closet. Yeah, that latter one is still sitting in two laundry baskets in my living room. Don't ask.
Okay, FINE, I totally need to deal with that.
I suppose what I'm trying to get down to is that sometimes opening the box is a blessing. We tend to think of opening boxes as some kind of curse. We think we are modern day Pandoras. Sometimes, maybe we are.
All I know is that it was joyous to open the boxes and see everything I'm going to need for the next two months sitting there waiting for me to try it on, iron it, and put it away in my closet. About half of the items were originally mine. The remainder belonged to various sweet friends who released them to my care because hoarding them because they didn't want to deal with them was really just not an option.
It isn't an option for me either...those clothes I carefully removed from their hangers last night that are now in my car on their way to someone else.
Maybe the moral of the story is to quit fighting the voice that says "do this" by answering "it's too much trouble." or "I don't have time." or "I cannot deal with another thing in my life right now." with "I've got this."
Just open the box. Deal with the contents. Bless someone. Move on. Repeat if necessary.
I'm certainly glad that I listened to the small, quiet voice that said, "Deal with that box." I really am.
And if you need someone to force you to clean out your closets and you live in Montgomery... I'm available.