Saturday, January 10, 2009

Making space for tomorrow: rearranging the furniture in our lives


All of my life I have enjoyed moving furniture around, creating spaces in rooms, making "little houses" my sister and mother said. Whenever we were travelling when I was younger, and stayed in motel rooms or on board the Empress of France crossing to live in Scotland for a year, I would take a corner of the room and set up boundaries with whatever and make my little house, set up my dollies, and play. Somehow I learned to make myself at home wherever I was.

In other ways it was hard for me to settle, and has been in my life. Many times I have had too much stuff, and had to take time out of my life to sort and get rid of things, like I am doing a lot in the basement these days. Other times it seemed I did not have what I really needed to make me feel at home, as if my room itself was restless. Often I didn't know what I really needed and God had to show me. I guess in so many ways I had to learn to get rid of the old, the makeshift, the not good enough, to make room for the best in my life.

I have been thinking a lot about things like this since I took the time out this year to put my house completely in order before I go on with my studies and my future plans for work. I have built up a backlog and have to find out what to keep and what to let go, in every kind of way. I have lived so many lives already, pushed myself into many roles, and often not taken time, and space for me. God has always found His space in my life, but often we were both on the run, keeping up with each other, He with me and I with Him. And also He was saying to me, "Make space for tomorrow, Meg. There are big things coming."

He said that to me a year ago through a scripture verse that astonished even the spiritual friend/director who gave it to me, through our connection brought by the seminary course in Spiritual Formation.

It was Isaiah 54: 1-5, especially, verses 2 and 3b:

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left.

God was telling me to stretch my tent curtains wide, to get out of the box, to be ready for expansion in every way. I already felt so stretched and expanded!!!! Well as the year went on, I did do that in my heart and mind in every way I could. And now, as I let my body and my house catch up with this journey, I have delightful surprises.

Now maybe for some of you it is hard to keep up with the connections I love to make between my material possessions and my spiritual life, in an unusual way. But from what I have learned it is typical for my personality type preference, INFJ, in Myers Briggs language, something I am trained to administer. All the different parts of my life have to be connected for me to feel in harmony, including my possessions.

Well, now, with a house full of my ancestral furniture, I had an interesting experience. Our dining room has hosted two sideboards, both over 100 years old, from two sides of the family. The first one was my mother's dresser, her mother's before her, and it became our first real sideboard after Mum's move in 2007. Then last summer the "monster" sideboard that dominated the cottage came to live here too. The dresser didn't seem to belong anymore, and yet I couldn't imagine using it as a dresser for me. It was too special. I could make do with the painted cheap one in our room, even if the drawers would always stick and the handles hurt and it wasn't really big enough.

Then I began to think that really it could come to live in my bedroom, that it would look great, and that it would be okay to let go of the old crummy one. And my sister said it was about time I had some decent furniture in our bedroom!!! Now that it is there something deep has settled in my being. Making space for the "new", letting go of the old, has brought new life and solidity to our room. The new is actually old, as in family and heritage, and it seems God is really saying that is part of the new new for me.

Embracing the future can mean embracing the past in a new way. Making space for God's plans can mean making more space for ourselves, our heritage, our history, and as we embrace it in deep personal ways it can bring new healing and joy into our lives. I have been doing that in many ways these past years, and it never ceases to amaze me how it continues. This "new" furniture in my intimate space, our bedroom, is a new version of the old. God works deeper as He works wider. Expanding our horizons can sometimes just mean rearranging the furniture of our lives, letting go of some old stuff, and enjoying the new arrangements.

4 comments:

Marilyn said...

Hmmm. I will be looking at my old stuff with new eyes this weekend, I know. Your words and the pic are....warming. I love how God uses the old in news ways and for new purposes. This was very thought-provoking. Thank you.

Meg said...

Good to know how He uses our loaves and fishes, dressers and stuff.

Belinda said...

Dear Meg,
Your dresser is beautiful, and the atmosphere is feminine and beautiful. I'm glad that you took it into your room and are enjoying something so lovely.

Thank you for giving us so much to reflect on.

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