I’m sitting in the sweet little Queen Anne chair in my study, working on my laptop computer. I doesn’t take a genius to figure out why I’m in the chair, either. Look at my desk! I could pull out the little doohickey on the right hand side that gives me a little desk-top, plop my computer on that and work away, but I have to be honest: it’s not easy to work in the midst of such chaos.
I’ve come to a point when (as soon as I finish
procrastinating writing this thought piece), I will need to declutter. I’d like to say I’ll begin to ORGANIZE my work-space, but I’m too honest for that. In truth, it’s not possible to organize that much clutter. Some of it must go … either to its actual home, to a new home, or to the garbage, recycling or compost.
How do I decide? That’s always a little tricky for me, frankly, but I’ve come up with a few basic rules: 1) If it serves a necessary purpose, it goes to an appropriate place where it can best be used. 2) If its beauty makes my heart sing or its meaning brings me to a sacred place in my soul, it stays (preferably in sight, because who doesn’t benefit from sacredness and beauty?). 3) If it is neither useful to me or the congregation, nor beautiful and soul enriching, it must go.
I look at my desk and see useful items that just need to be returned to their proper places (the three-hole punch, the hymnal, my coffee mug and the Christ candle, to name a few). I also see things whose beauty moves me (the heart my friend painted, the creche scene carved out of wood that looks like a pencil that a parishioner brought me from his time in Uganda with Veterinarians Without Borders, beeswax candles and my Joyce Rupp book “Your Sorrow is My Sorrow” to name just a few). Other than that, though, there’s still a lot of stuff: stuff that should be recycled, stuff that belongs to others, stuff I fear I might need someday but probably won’t, stuff I hold on to so as to avoid offending the person who thought I should keep it.
You get the picure.
Now, I am not setting myself up to be a paragon of organizational virtue. Far from it! (Look back at the picture of the desk if you don’t believe me!) I’m just pondering … and wondering what this has to do with my larger life.
Maybe you would join me in an exercise of contemplation: In what ways is your life like my desk? Your spiritual life, I mean. What’s the clutter you hold onto? Would things be different for you if you had a bit more space and a bit less clutter? What beauty brings you nourishment and should certainly be kept? What in your life is more fit for the recycling bin or compost heap, rather than pride of place in the middle of your soul’s abode? What tools are helpful to you or our world, but would be more useful if kept in a more appropriate place? And how much better will you feel when you let go of that which needs letting go?