Carrying a purse wasn’t something that came to me naturally. When I was little, I recall mimicking the adult women in my life, but it was a prop. It didn’t hold my valuable life possessions. When they were done with them, my sisters would hand off fascinating things to me—old lipstick containers, perfume bottles, and jewelry. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.
As an adult, I carried a colossal wallet that I had stuffed with everything I could fit into it for years. It had various compartments and slots that were not at all orderly. When it would start to burst at the seams, I would dump out all the contents and rid myself of all the unnecessary stuff I was lugging around. The mound of receipts and loose change became a nuisance when I tried to find something I needed. And, if I happened to drop it, it was like a slot machine paying out.
I was in a store looking at something on a rack, so I placed it in front of me as I moved merchandise. I left without purchasing anything, and I walked all the way to my car before I realized it was not with me.
There is nothing quite as nerve-wracking as when you have to sprint back in, dodge shoppers, and hope what you left behind is still there. It was like I had abandoned one of my children, but it also had all of my identification in it. I had images of someone walking up to it and taking it. What would stop anyone from doing that? I didn’t carry a lot of cash, but I had a credit card. No one would go crazy with my library card, but I didn’t want it to fall into the hands of anyone else.
Luckily, it was still where I had left it, but before I walked away, I bought a purse. I learned right then that I didn’t want to do that ever again. I had almost lost something of great value because I had been careless with it. At least I could put my wallet in something and sling it over my shoulder. I was actually at more risk for theft, and I can be my worst enemy.
Since then, I have gone through multiple handbags. I found out that I am really tough on them. By the time I need one, the former one looks like I have used it to defend myself against an army of muggers. Straps are falling off, and pieces of material are falling everywhere. I had a black one that started to shed like a dog. Everywhere I went, I left a trail of dark flakes.
It seems that a hole always forms inside one of the pockets. When this happens, that puts me over the edge and makes it easier for me to discard it. I will throw my keys in it and then when I go to get them later, I cannot find them. The search then begins. Did I really put them in there? Or are they on the counter? I start checking around the house to see what madness I have created for myself. All the inhabitants of my home are aware when I cannot find my keys.
If the car is in the garage, I know I got home with them. That is the first reassuring thought. The second one is not. What if I threw them away? No, why would I do that? Even in half sleep-deprived state, I would not do that. What if I accidentally put them through the wash? No, I don’t think I would do that either. I would have heard the metal clinking in the washer, I reason with myself.
After not seeing them, I return to the drawing board, pick up the purse, and shake out all the contents. I turn it upside down and violently dump out everything. I usually find something that has gone missing that I need. So, it’s a momentary victory, but what comes next is not.
I can hear my keys, but I cannot locate them with my hand plunging in and trying to grab them. They are in there, but they are stuck inside the liner.
I have had this happen numerous times where I have to figure out how they snuck through an opening I was not aware of, and now are tucked away out of reach.
When I have to go somewhere and give myself seconds to get out the door, which I usually do, this is not a pleasant experience. I have not been against getting a scissors and cutting out my keys so I can leave. If my accessory is going to fight me that much and is causing me a problem, it’s time to get drastic.
I might carry it with me for a few more weeks, and usually, I am given a new one for a birthday or a Christmas present.
The last one that I was given has a zipper on the side. If I put my hand inside of it, the pocket is deep.
“That’s for a handgun,” my daughter said after she gave it to me.
I don’t have one, but one day when I was walking through the living room, I said,
“So, if I had a gun, I would have to unzip this and pull out a gun like this?” I dropped the whole thing at my feet, trying to demonstrate it with my fingers shaped like a pistol.
It will make a great place to put my keys, so I don’t forget where they are.
Having a new purse is terrific until you go to that familiar place of the old one to get something, and you realize nothing is the same. For months, and maybe even years, you have had things in the same spot, and the familiarity has been comfortable in a way. Yet, by the time you bid it farewell, you couldn’t bear it anymore.
It’s an adjustment. That small pack of tissues you never used was tucked safely on the side, and now you need them. You forgot where you put them. You had a special place for your pens, and now they are not where they always had been because this new design is not at all like what you had. Your phone has a pocket now that is nowhere near where it was in the old one.
But, the change was necessary. If you had not gotten rid of what wasn’t working anymore, then you would have continued to put up with what no longer served its purpose.
I used to hang on to things until they were so beaten up and they were taking me down with them. Why buy a new pair of shoes if the ones you have can still be tied? Yet, they offer no support?
I came across a life-changing thought in one of the many books I have read. It was written by a woman who used scripture as ‘medicine’ to help people who found themselves in unpleasant situations. Her advice was that if a person wanted to add something to their life, they had to rid themselves of what no longer had a purpose. They had to make space for it. This made me evaluate what I was not letting go, and how I wasn’t allowing God to bring me what He wanted me to have.
She lived from 1871 until 1940, but her words apply as much today as they did then. When an acquaintance of hers wanted a new residence, and there wasn’t one in all of New York where they lived, she instructed her to go out and buy a welcome mat to set the intention that she would use it in a new place. She had to mentally let go of where she currently lived and acted as if she were moving. Her new apartment manifested itself very quickly. What you get ready for, God will bring it.
In Isaiah 43:19, it says,
Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert. (NIV)
Heaven will do its part if we do ours. Bless your past, move on and forget it.