It’s Spring-cleaning time. I know that because last night I had a nightmare–I was back in my parents’ house trying to clean it amid mountains of clothes, tools, and scrap metal! Every time we got one room cleared out and tried to clean the floor, my parents would drag stuff back into the empty space! In the dream, my sisters were also loading all the clothes in the house into the washing machine. It was so overloaded that when it started spinning, the clothes were flying out from the bottom, top, and even out from behind the control dial. Dreams are weird . . .
Now I realize dreams are all me–even if there are multiple characters in them–so after I woke up this morning, I decided that I’ve been collecting way too much “stuff.” It’s time to clean house!
We all do it, mostly unconsciously… We save stuff. My mother saved everything, including the microwave containers from all the TV dinners my parents ever ate. A friend’s father saved golfballs. He went through the depression selling used golf balls from the golf club where he caddied. Thirty years later, his Connecticut mansion had an attic full of boxes, bags, baskets, and buckets of used golf balls. My friend had pictures of what looked like an egg farm in the attic.
A couple from our faith community dropped off some pictures that I left at their house when I moved, and that bag is sitting on my rocker. It’s history. I’m making a mental list–all the stuff on every shelf in my house, the three trunks in my storage shed, my bathroom closet, the kitchen cabinets, the book shelves, my bedroom closets, drawers, the living room buffet, and my craft cabinets. Who needs 400 pens anyway!This may take awhile…
Barbara Bush once told a reporter that she’s moved her family 26 times. I’ll bet she knows how to throw stuff out! When I was in “religious life” we carried 2 sets of clothes and a trunk. That was it. Anything else we needed was held in common and left behind when we traveled. Of course, there were lots of “exceptions” granted–one sister had dozens of books in her room. But some days I miss the simplicity of not hoarding possessions. I really admire the Amish for their austerity.
O God, I beg two favors from You . . . First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny You and say, “Who is the LORD?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name. (Proverbs 30:7a-9)
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)