Throughout that first week my reality was changing. I felt as though I was walking out of a dense fog and into the sunshine. I was seeing things I had never seen before, and unfortunately smelling stinks that I had never smelled before! The good news was that I was thinking thoughts that had never crossed my mind before. As I continued to move from room to room, surface to surface, and drawer to drawer, I had to ask myself, “How much is enough?” The silverware organizer in the top kitchen drawer was so full that the teaspoons were overflowing into the forks. How many teaspoons did I really need? We had been given four different sets of drinking glasses for our wedding. Our kitchen was tiny, and shelf space was limited. How many drinking glasses could we really use, especially if I were actually to wash the dishes more than once a day? Under the kitchen sink I had stored a dozen bottles of cleaning products, each of which had promised me happiness and a sparkling clean home. Most of them were liars. How many could I use? What about the good money I had spent on those half-full bottles of empty promises? Sometimes answering those questions was really difficult. I had to force myself not to over think.
Sometimes the answers to my questions were so stunningly easy and clear; I was shocked at my own former dulled wit. In the hallway between the kitchen and bathroom was a little utility closet, just the right size for a mop, broom and dust pan. It was filled from the floor to about knee height with old newspapers. Back in high school, Holly’s mom had taught me that newspaper was excellent for cleaning glass surfaces, so I saved as many newspapers as I could. Crammed on top of them I kept my mop, which I had always put away wet. The pile had become soggy, smelly and moldy, but I had never noticed before. For the first time I asked myself why I had kept so many. If I had had the common sense that God gave a turnip, I would never have saved any of them because we had a daily subscription to the paper. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. Could that have been me who had hung on to all this awful garbage? As I mucked the rotted mess out of the utility closet, I fought back my shame and forged on.