I recently took a college course Think Green: Sustainability for a Better World. The use of green technology and the embedded theme of creative reuse especially energized me because I’d been doing the latter all my life, but now it had been formalized. That realization was a milestone for me.

I’ve always tried to build on creative reuse. When our dear dog Hershey died, family and friends urged me to purge all the dog-related items and thus purge the pain of loss. Although I donated the perishables and a bed, I kept a bigger bed, a crate, brushes, leashes, and collars in case we could use them in the future. I didn’t know if that would ever happen, but if it did, I wanted to be ready. So much of life is about being ready. Realizing that was another milestone. However, stockpiling all those things created clutter which in turn led to reactive decluttering.

After organizing two cabinets earlier (see February, page 20), I was excited at the prospect of doing the same thing in the pantry. I threw open the pantry door ready to start, but the sight stopped me in my tracks. The pantry hadn’t been decluttered in decades. I couldn’t even get in. All the floor space was gone and stuff was stacked waist-high.It was too much. I took the only action I could: I hired my son’s fiancée Chelsea to clean it out. That’s why one Sunday afternoon I came home to find her there hard at work. The big box of expired food on the table had to go. She explained why, “Look at this. It’s older than I am!”Chelsea had timed the clean-out perfectly because the next day was garbage day. I steeled my nerves, pulled out a few things, and the rest went to the landfill.Another milestone.

Being able to actually step into the pantry was illuminating. I could reach the light-bulb cord without falling over. I could see the paint on the shelves. (Green– who knew?) Foods were grouped by logic rather than by container stackability. I could see what was present. There was order, and order in one’s life leads to a clearer understanding of karma in the universe and how events sometimes cosmically align, if we pay attention. Sometimes that alignment hinges on the simplest thing, like the decision on when to run an errand.

Back when the cabinets were organized, we had found pet items that others could use. I finally made time and took them to the vet’s office. I hadn’t been there five minutes when the vet arrived with a rescue. Out of his truck came a shaky, tentative dog named Daisy. Underweight. Uncertain. Geriatric. In need of a good home with comfort, structure, and regular food. The chain of events had tumbled like dominoes, and I, the owner of a dog bed, a crate, brushes, leashes, and collars, was right where I was supposed to be, at exactly the right day and time. One week later, we adopted Daisy.

We’re reusing all of Hershey’s things for what honestly feels like a higher calling. Another milestone.

Life is full of possibilities for achieving milestones if we’re exactly where we need to be, if we’re ready, and if we have the courage to embrace the opportunities. If I didn’t believe in karma before, I surely do now.

About the Author: When she’s not walking Daisy, Linda Lemery llemery@averett.eduworks as Circulation Manager at Averett University’s Mary B. Blount Library in Danville. She welcomes your comments.

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