I finally did it.
I got rid of my wedding dress yesterday afternoon.
Eric and I have been married for almost sixteen years and I haven’t worn the wedding dress since, you know, my wedding. Since that day we’ve moved six times, and the dress sat in six different closets. I’ve been eyeing it and wondering what on earth to do with it– who wants a dress that’s sixteen years out of date? My daughter certainly won’t wear it at her wedding, my mother doesn’t want it back, and heaven knows my sister won’t fit into it.
I asked Mom one last time to make sure I wouldn’t be causing undue emotional trauma. My mother, ever the practical one, gave the box the same squinty-eyed glare I was giving it and said, “I think you should donate it.” While my courage was fresh and strong I loaded the van and made a stop at Salvation Army. For some reason I was nervous, like the kid running the donation door was going to refuse it: “I’m sorry, ma’am. We don’t accept terribly large and outdated dresses here.” But he just took it from me with a smile and I hopped back in my van, whooshing out a breath of relief.
Keeping unnecessary things weighs us down, I think. I texted my friend Jenny today and told her how good the empty spot in the closet feels. The whole house feels lighter. I feel lighter.
I tell you this long and rambling story because we’re kicking off a new leg of the blog. Aren’t you excited!? I hope you’re excited. Our family is reevaluating some things, like how we spend our money and where we live and what our priorities are. Eric and I find ourselves fairly desperate to slow down our calendar so we can focus on building stronger relationships within our family and community. We want to simplify our finances to give more generously and then to travel without guilt. (David, we’re headed your direction soon!) We want to be listening closely to what God is telling us and then be ready to move to the next place He has for us.
I read a lot of simple living books and sometimes I get frustrated, because they seem to be saying we need to sell everything and move into a one hundred square-foot house on wheels. And I tell you what, I am on board with that plan, my friends. Sign me up. Put a sign in the yard and let’s get to tiny house living.
But it turns out my children have less than zero interest in this plan. Even when I dangle trips to far-flung places like Paris in front of their faces, I get blank stares or, if they’re tired and cranky, full-blown tears. There has to be a middle ground we can all enjoy– purposeful, simple living within the community and neighborhood where we already live.
This blog is going to start examining that struggle. How do we live well, in this time, in this place? I’ll be interviewing real people who have made hard, important decisions with their careers, their finances, and their path with God. I’ll read books and then recommend them to you (if they aren’t terrible).
And we kick off all this fun with the donation of one wedding dress. The marriage is healthy and strong, but that doesn’t mean I have to keep a giant satin memento of the day we marched down the aisle and promised to take good care of each other.
What about you? What one thing is hanging around your closet, waiting for its final trip to the thrift store?