Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Letting go of abundance
October 18, 2017
Many who know me well will be quick to tell you I suffer from a bit of a poverty mentality. It ties directly to my upbringing and it runs deep. So much so, that I sometimes lose sight of the many riches that surround me.
Beginning with a loving relationship, good health for me as well as for my loved ones, a roof over my head, reliable transportation, I could and should go on and on.
But in spite of my aforementioned good fortune, I sometimes find myself standing on the edge of despair and worry, when it comes to financial stability.
I spent years praying for abundance pretty much daily — like some pray the rosary — and God sent me a man with five children. I was told I needed to be more specific.
Years of accumulation
Over the years, I have compensated my perceived lack by saying "yes" to any offer of goods that came my way. My friends could pretty much count on me taking pretty much anything they were trying to unload.
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This has included clothes and shoes but also large items like beds, sofas, dressers, a woodstove, a gas grill and most recently a gorgeous roll top desk. I have felt very fortunate.
My husband would like to see something go away before another something comes in so I will occasionally make an effort to then donate said furniture, grill, clothes and shoes when they wear out or other pieces are offered. But I have trouble parting with perfectly useful goods.
While not necessarily a hoarder, I do admit to hanging onto more than my share of material belongings.
The devastation from the recent fires in Northern California continues.
While feeling incredibly grateful to have been spared the trauma of evacuation or worse, I found myself wanting to help those who were not so fortunate. My social media feed was full of drop off centers and donation sites and even the local grocer offered uncomplicated ways to donate funds.
Cleaning out the closet
When I heard about a drop off center in town that would take goods to help victims of the recent fire, I decided to see what I had that might be useful to anyone having to replace pretty much everything they owned.
I started in the linen closet. There was a time when there were eight beds in our house so I was pretty sure I had some extra sheets and blankets I could pass on to others.
I had been holding onto them thinking the kids would need them when they moved on, but they seem to have managed without my surplus. I emptied the closet and began sorting twin fitted sheets from flat, queen sets from full, sets from singles.
It is embarrassing to admit but my pillowcase fetish was displayed in full light after I reached fifty sets and stopped counting. How is it possible that I, who perceive to have so little, could have acquired more than one hundred pillow cases?
I justify it a bit in that with nine people and eight beds, there could have been as many as twenty pillows needing cover at any given time. My bed alone has six, but there is no denying the excess.
As I said, I am often the recipient of hand-me-downs from friends, but still, enough is enough.
I sorted and bagged dozens of bedding sets and went on to pack up bag after bag of shirts, jackets, pants, shorts, etc., that have been left behind as the children grew up and moved out.
Giving never felt so good
My desire to give to those with less helped me see how blessed I have been.
My daughter took the opportunity to pile up other items we no longer use or need. From VHS recorders and tapes to board games we haven't played in a decade. She emptied closets and wardrobes and pushed me to let go of sentimental keepsakes that did little more than take up space.
In the process we looked at old photos and found memorabilia from school days and from the many trips we took while she was growing up. We set aside art created in grade school as well as old trophies from various sports teams. We found her baby book and favorite bedtime story books.
It took hours and hours but the time passed quickly as we threw away old files and I let go of floppy disks and rolodex cards. We sorted the junk from the useful and put them into piles.
Finally, as she helped load the car with items which others could use, I was able to see clearly how very much my needs are met. As a matter of fact, in abundance.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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