Friday, April 03, 2009

Cleaning Up

It’s Spring, always a good time for cleaning up your house and your life. When I was a little kid my mom used Passover as the time to do this. We changed all our dishes, pots and pans to Passover approved dinnerware—in our case it was all glass dishes, a separate set of silverware and cookware that was only used for this special occasion. We vacuumed carpets, dusted surfaces, and scrubbed floors – well at least Helen Costello, the wonderful woman who worked as our housekeeper, babysitter and part time mother, did. (You would never describe her as a nanny. She was far too a critical part of our lives). Mom was a great supervisor, or at least she was an excellent delegater.

Passover was always my favorite holiday and while part of that was the tidiness, most of it was a complete set of glass dishes (bowls, cups saucers, cake/salad plates) with little embedded glass bubbles. I think we gave those dishes away or, maybe they got broken over the years, but when we sold the house we couldn’t find them. Believe it or not, I miss them even after so many years.

Sometimes when I think about how to deal with this lovely but often rainy time of the year, I think that it is a good time not only to clean our homes -- and get rid of all the extraneous crap we have collected over the years-- it is also a good time to get rid of the people who no longer bring any richness to our days. The people who are ‘no longer really friends’ and who, whether it is by being thoughtless, selfish, whiney, angry, or negative, simply require too much work and drain all our energy. And I mean this in the nicest possible way.

As time moves on and each moment we live becomes more measured and important, we realize that our time is limited and the way we spend it is critical. I have made a decision that I want to be surrounded by people who do not judge my faults but celebrate my strengths. In addition, I don’t want to be angry with people who have been unkind, or insensitive, but it’s much easier to discard ‘things’ than it is to eliminate personalities or issues. How do you say to someone who you have known for 100 years that you do not want to hear from them again because they are not good for you. And how do you get beyond being angry about something someone may have done to you when what they have done may be part of the fabric of what you do professionally or personally – in other words, it is in your face. But here’s something to think about; there is never an upside to being angry. It makes you sick and stressed and sometimes, not a nice person. It does nothing to the person with whom you are angry. Under almost all circumstances, they don’t care. My suggestion is to take a deep breath, and like you do with clothes that no longer work for you, make a list of which friends you want to give to charity. And slowly you will find you are in a much better place.

I heard this story today and, given my blog, I thought, since it was most insightful, I would share it.

Toward the end of Sunday service, the Minister asked, 'How many of you have forgiven your enemies?' 80% held up their hands. The Minister then repeated his question. All responded this time, except one small elderly lady.
"Miss Joyce, Are you not willing to forgive your enemies?'
“I don't have any enemies.” She replied, smiling sweetly.
“Miss Joyce, that is very unusual. How old are you?'
“Ninety-eight.” she replied.
“'Oh, Miss Joyce, would you please come down in front & tell us all how a person can live ninety-eight years & not have an enemy in the world?'
The little sweetheart of a lady tottered down the aisle, faced the congregation,
and said very sweetly and forthrightly:
“I out lived the bitches.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this lady. So true. So, wonderful. And, I teared up at the Riverdale story. Ok, I'm a marshmallow.