Vol 11, Num 6 :: 2012.03.16 — 2012.03.29
The older I get, the more I love Lent, this special time of year when one is encouraged to slow down, to think intentionally about the Cross and all that it means. In my Lenten reading this year, I have been especially challenged by the discipline of simplicity, or the lack thereof. And that brings me to the theme of this issue — organization, and how it relates to the discipline of simplicity.
As I reviewed the way I live my life, the greatest obstacle to simplicity is stuff, and the way it piles up. I am not so sure it is all bad stuff, nor would I propose that I would be a good candidate for the TV program Hoarders, but I find it difficult to part with my stuff, making organization a challenge. Now I could further organize my stuff, the bulk of which is comprised of books, dishes and cookware, and I have to admit: clothes. Still, piling my books two deep on the shelf according to subject and how dear the book is to me does not resolve the issue that I have too many.
And regardless of the fact that my dishes have homes, the ones I use most frequently readily accessible, the company dishes in the dining room and the extra company dishes in the basement, the fact remains, I don’t need that many.
I am sure you are thinking about the clothes mentioned previously — the summer ones, the winter ones, the fall and spring ones, the go-to-school-and-work ones, and the work-at-home ones. Unfortunately I can’t blame any of the clothes taking up closet space on church, because my work clothes serve just fine for most church events…so the quandary.
I say I want a simpler life. I say I want an organized life, but the stuff of life weighs me down, and I wonder if I am the only one who experiences this. In my defense — oh, please see it as a little bit valid! — I have been married over forty years. Enough said.
This Lenten season, more than any other, I am confronted with gluttony — not the gluttony that comes from overeating, though I am sure there is that, but the gluttony of stuff. Father, forgive me.
I think I need a box, out in plain sight, and every time I pass it, I must put something in it, not something someone else will have to throw away, but something someone else might value. I think it is an old Swedish custom, to give for a wedding gift, something of your own that you treasure. Perhaps the gifts I put in this box might serve me and someone else, freeing me from much of my good stuff, so that others can enjoy it.