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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Digging through the piles

We're in the middle of a lovely spring blizzard here in CO, and I decided to use our snow day productively. Because after all, why would I act like a reasonable person and spend it sipping cocoa by the fire with a good book?

I'm headed for the home stretch on getting our taxes done. We usually are done by now, but I'm still trying to get my business info in order. I'm missing my records for the first three months of the year. I distinctly remember putting them all... somewhere. As in, last year, I had a great plan for organization, put them in a really smart place, and now have no clue what it was. Welcome to my world.

What does this have to do with the blizzard?

Since I had nothing better to do, except maybe laundry, and we all know how I love that task, I decided to hunt for the missing papers.

Allow me to introduce you to Danica Organization 101. I keep everything. Mostly because I honestly don't know what to keep for how long (except tax stuff). And because I've had nasty run-ins with would-be creditors who claim I owe them money (but don't and have proven it with my dinosaur records), I'm terrified of throwing anything away.

In the past, I've been a big believer in the "throw it in a box and it no longer exists" method of organization. However, I can't deal with the boxes, and to tell the truth, it drives me nuts. I really can't deal with chaos and clutter. So boxing it makes me feel good temporarily, but in the end, it makes it worse.

So today... because I needed to find those records, and I probably accidentally put them in one of the other boxes by mistake, I started to go through said boxes. I tossed, I shredded, and I came across a lot of old memories. Some good, some bad, but mostly, I realized just how much of my life I've spent focused on the wrong things. It felt really good to shred some of the reminders of how stupid I've been.

The exercise reminded me of something I did at our silent retreat. We confess our sins by writing them on a piece of paper, then shred them. Because that's what our sins are to God. I realized as I was shredding and tossing a lot of old papers that even though they represented a lot of the mistakes I've made, they're not who I am now. It also made me realize the extravagant grace I've been given.

I'm amazed at the progress I've made. Both in cleaning out my office (a whole ROW of boxes is now GONE!) and in the growth I've made as a person. At times I feel like I'm still that same person, and today I actually saw the evidence that I'm not. Of course, I also saw the areas in which I've definitely got a LONG way to grow, but I guess if we didn't have room to grow, we'd be up in heaven or something. :)

Lots of progress today. While the rest of the city dug out of the snow, I dug out of the piles of paper I've had boxed up over the years. Funny thing is, I didn't find the information I was looking for. (Yes, I still have more boxes. *sigh*) But I honestly don't care. I feel like a weight has been taken off me and I'm free from a lot of the things from my past.

Even though I don't recommend keeping the past 10-15 years of your life in a box and having to sort through it, I think it's good to be able to take an accounting to see what's worked, what hasn't, and what I still need to work on. Hopefully, 10-15 years from now I'll be able to look at this time and see that I've grown as a person and I'm not making the same stupid mistakes I do now. And even if I do, I'm so glad there's grace to cover it.

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