Megan burst through my bedroom door this morning exclaiming “The garbage truck is coming!”
“What?!” I launched myself out of bed and raced outside to grab the can. My mind was racing along with my body “Why are they coming today? We had a holiday on Monday and they normally come a day later on holiday weeks! I don’t get it! This doesn’t make sense…” and then fortunately my situational awareness pushed aside the questioning daze and I realized if I pulled the garbage can out to the curb clad in my pajamas… well lets just say I would have been inappropriately dressed.
I jumped back inside, threw on some athletic shorts and as I burst back outside I saw that Megan had beaten me to the job and was steps away from the street with the trashcan in tow. As I jogged down to help her (Its 70 yards from our door to the street) Katie started hollering my name. I turned and she hefted a full trash basket aloft from the children’s bathroom.
I shifted into high gear, grabbed the overflowing container and made a personal hand off to the garbage man in the nick of time! We smiled in greeting as he handed me back the empty basket and pushed the large can, now empty, to the curb. Megan was already back to the house. She normally won’t touch the garbage can, but grasping the need of the moment, she seized the initiative and got rolling.
Mission accomplished… trash removed.
Our days this past week have been full and busy with but few “fire drills” like this morning. But I realize that my internal thought process at times track similar paths to this morning’s events. There are moments when I think “I’ve got this wired. We are sailing along just fine!” and then the garbage truck rumbles into earshot and my thoughts jump into overdrive…then I find I’m racing to take out the emotional excess.
Like trash, my emotions are incredibly useful during this grieving. Our trash is mostly packaging, containers or mail. What is now in the trash once served a key purpose. It held something together, conveyed important contents or communicated needed information. My emotions accomplish all three things as well: They help me hold together by being a stress relief valve, they wrap precious memories, imbuing them with value and they remind me of important truths.
The tricky part of each day however is that I never know when the garbage truck is going to come rumbling along. On Tuesday morning this week, two months to the day after Kristi died, our dear neighbor from Liberty Hill also passed away from breast cancer. Her battle had stretched over 10 years or more and she had almost reached 90 years in age. But it didn’t matter. I wept when I received the news. Another husband bereft of his love, a son left motherless.
I remembered how Mrs. Beebe welcomed our children into her home for root beer and Oreos in the afternoons when school was finished. The evenings spent rocking on their porch enjoying the Texas hill country twilight while they told stories about growing up around Austin, fighting in World War II or praising our Lord together will remain cherished memories.
I just let the tears flow Tuesday. It was cathartic. And as the tears dried, I didn’t try to keep crying or stay in that place of deep mourning. The day kept moving and I needed to keep up. I know the opportunity to weep will come again, but that moment passed. The sorrow and aching were fit for the moment, serving their purpose and then they needed to be released. To remain artificially tethered to the period of weeping would be like not taking out the garbage. Eventually it piles up, gets in the way of progress and starts stinking. You have to take it out, let it go.
That’s what I’m learning to do. Let the emotions come, and come they do…then let them go. Let them serve their purpose and then release them so life and healing can continue to flow without getting stopped up by rancid emotional debris.
Mission accomplished… trash removed.
B-Gone, B-9, B-Healed… Its a way of life