Monday, March 21, 2011


I've been feeling particularly sad for some time now. And it's not just my depression, as far as I can tell.

There is something else.

What I'm feeling is diminished. That there is less of me.

One of the realities of moving from a large house to a medium-sized apartment is the need to get rid of things. Particularly things for which we do not expect we will have any space.

It's not so much that I'm tied to my possessions. I'm not.

What I'm missing is file upon file of my work which has to be trashed. Things into which I have put my heart and thought. Which, I think, is appropriate for a writer, and a minister. News articles. Newspaper columns. Special reports on radio. Sermons and other meditations. Bible study material. Unused research notes, waiting for a chance to see the light of day.

All gone.

I'm not just throwing out papers. I'm throwing out part of myself.

And, of course, Sadie's gone now, too, after I spent a lot of time training her, and befriending her.

That's why I feel diminished. So much of me is gone.


Natalie said...

So sorry for your sadness, Rob. It must be very difficult.
The thing is Rob, even if everything and everyone was taken from us, we would still be 'us'. Each of us just 'is'. Maybe you will get to know the essence of Rob all over again, or maybe even a newer version of Rob. It is always nice to meet someone new. ♥

Diana said...

I'm sorry to hear this Rob-bear. Isn't there anyway that you can condense all of these files? I mean physically. Weed through them and keep the favorites and really pack them smaller?
This has to be difficult for you. I think I would try to keep as much as I could.
I hope your days start to brighten up soon. Love Di ♥

Unknown said...

I feel for you Rob-Bear, because I'm in the midst of doing the same sort of thing and am being very careful of what I trash. I had already trashed some treasured written material and regretted it; won't be doing that again.

Take care that you don't diminish yourself into nothingness.

Frances said...

What you've written expresses very well what we feel as we move from "station to station" through our lives.

The good part is that every new station will offer some possibilities of new growth. It's natural! And sometimes, this growth will surprise us, arriving unannounced.

Well, that's how I have begun to approach life. xo

Jean said...

When my father-in-law died and we had to dispose of boxes and boxes of his sermons, lecture notes, after dinner speeches and lots more, it seemed like we were throwing away his life. (He was an church of England vicar and lastly canon of a cathedral.)

The reality was, none of this stuff had any true value, other than sentimental value, reminding us that he was gone and how much we miss him. What we really wanted was to have him back with us.

It's people that matter, not the reams of paper they wrote. Just keep a few pieces that are special, say goodbye to the rest, feel cleansed and move forward. People would rather talk to you now than read what you said in the past.
(Sorry if I seem to be swimming against the tide, as usual.)

The Blog Fodder said...

Been there, Rob. How much life can you crowd in two suitcases and 7 boxes? The kid's Grandma at 91 is moving into a care home after 50 years in one place. Yes, it is part of yourself that you are making decisions about and it is so hard to do. It isn't the stuff, it is the memories. I hope you have room for your books.
And having to let Miss Sadie go is pretty tough. Dogs give complete and total love with no strings and as Temple Grandin said "make us human".

French Fancy... said...

Oh I feel your pain, Rob. All those things into which you poured your heart, soul and mind - but we can't hang on to these things; we have made them, used them and eventually we have to let them go. They did their good with their goodness at the time - you made differences with them - it doesn't make it any easier though.

As for Sadie going - I must read back to see what happened

hugs from England


Amanda Summer said...

how sad to read this, rob-bear, and how honest of you to share it. there is something both painful and beautiful to the process of letting things go. I am hoping and praying that you will soon start to feel the positive effects of lightening your load as you continue making new connections, and experience growth in new ways.

for sadie, i can't imagine how much you miss her.

potsoc said...

Your current situation is akin to that of a seed. In order to give a new plant the seed has to die.
You are starting a new life, shed the old skin and get into the new one.
I know, easily said but difficult to live.
You sound like one of those Clavinist preachers for whom all is gloomy, snap out of it there is a rebirth just around the corner in your new digs.

Rob-bear said...

® Natalie: It is difficult. And I'm not sure whether the process will feel diminishing or liberating in the end. Question to consider.

® Diana: These items are, in a sense, consolidated. File upon file, box upon box. Decades worth of work, in different computers with different operating systems. No way to file them electronically.

® Jane: Sorry you've gone through the same loss. Hope your re-sizing keeps going well.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya! I used to be an artist. I used to be a very GOOD artist! And when my sister stopped in to see how my packing was coming along she saw all my portraits and paintings loaded in the GOODWILL stack.

She said "Dana! You can't be serious!"

And I said "That Dana doesn't exist anymore."

I don't know for sure Rob, but there just comes a time when we aren't who we were.

It's so sad.

potsoc said...

Dana, I totally disagree with your "there is a time when..." We may change superficially but deep down we remain, forever and after, what we were and still are.
Outer trappings are not who or what we are, they are just a facet of us. There are so many other facets of us still to be explored.
Onward valiant elders to the discovery of our other facets.

Anonymous said...

Time for an update, diminished or not.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Dear Bear, I agree that you are the person inside and not evidenced by your papers. However, select a few that move you to scan and save and a few in folders. I like what Jean said.

I know that you continue to miss Sadie but I hope that you will be able to make contact with her from time to time.

Your transitions cannot be easy and I hope that my thoughts and prayers will in some small way provide comfort.


Suburbia said...

That's so sad, and Sadie too? Hugs.

Rob-bear said...

® Frances: Yes. Moving train. Just leaving the station. I'm on it, Bearly.

® Jean: Thanks for sharing that story. That is precisely the kind of thing I do not want to impose on our children.

Rob-bear said...

Sorry, but the grey stuff in Bear's head is more like "Silly Putty" than brain at this point. I will get myself sorted out and at least attempt intelligent replies.

® Natalie: There is a profound difference between what we have and who we are. Don't think it is me all over again, but a newer version of an ol' Bear. Thanks.

® Diana: I am coming to realise that much of what I have is no longer worth keeping. Profound truth for me. I really am refocusing my life, and "leaving behind things that matter no more" (to quote a line from a wonderful hymn).

® Jane: My attitude to much of my stuff is changing. I am getting a clearer vision of what I want to do next. This action is helping to set the stage for the following phase. And no, I won't fade away.
Sorry you've lost something important!
BTW, I've written a post on a second feeling about this process, which is entitled, "Focused." It should appear in the next few days.

Rob-bear said...

® Blog Fodder: "It isn't the stuff, it is the memories." Yes, it is.
Miss Sadie is doing well. And I have a "substitute dog," about whom I'll be blogging in a few days.

® French Fancy: Thanks, Julie. Good stuff, but can't hang on to it. It was important when it was done; now, things have changed.

Rob-bear said...

This very mixed-up Bear is trying to handle his mail. I wish Miss Sadie was doing this for me; she was so good at it.

OK, where am I?

® amanda (the archaeologist): Things are, as they say in the ambulance service, "picking up." My experience is changing, and more positive (as you'll see).

® potsoc: More Methodist that Calvinist. (Meaning there is Methodism in my madness.) My thoughts are clearing up.

Rob-bear said...

® Dana: I'm not so sure about that. In fact, I'm less sure all the time. (See my second note to Natalie, above.) I'll be touching on that in my post called "Focused."

® potsoc: I think I'm quite inclined to your thoughts. That is some of what I'm saying in my "Focused" post.

® Dana: The "Focused" update is coming. I can hear it pad, pad, padding along on ursine feet. First, though, I have to deal with my mail.

Rob-bear said...

Sorry to be taking so long to get this all done. Miss Sadie would have handled this about a week ago.

® Genie: I'm sorting things into smaller files. I am not making much progress. This is very disappointing, from so many different angles.
When the man and the woman were turfed out of the Garden of Eden, the man supposedly turned to his wife and said, "My dear, we're living in an era of transition." Nothing much has changed.

® Suburbia: Thank you so much for coming by! Seems we are in similar situations, moving house and all. Miss Sadie is missed, but doing well in her new home.
And being a Bear, I like lots of hugs. Thanks. Hugs to you, too.