I have been spring cleaning. Right now, my office is pristine, well, in relative terms. I have cleared piles of equipment junk, boxes, drawers and the like out of my home office and into my minute hallway awaiting shipment either to the cellar or to the bin. I finally got the old fax machine out too. It always seemed as if i would still need it, or my brother would want it, even though he took one disdainful look at it almost two years ago and declared that he had no use for it; the boxes that sundry equipment came in went too.
Now I walk into my office and i am greeted by an impression of light, space and ease. There are still some drawers to be emptied, books to be sorted, (but then i always have books to sort, too many of them and too little bookshelf space); yet the overall feeling is one of well being. I like it, I like it very much. I feel more creative, more at ease, and i wonder how i managed to live with all that clutter for so long.
Our lives are like that. We keep them cluttered with odds and ends, broken down relationships, unneeded antagonisms, emotions that have exceeded their sell by date, behaviour that belonged in the antediluvian age, sundry snippets of gossip that coalesce into a humongous pile; and we wonder why we live with an underlying sense of unease and discomfort. People come for counselling, their minds are churning, their thoughts are spinning and they have subterranean cavities stocked with facts and details of everyone’s shortcomings and vices. And they say lay hands on me that God may give me peace.
Peace, joy, much sought after and often elusive, are often hindered by the refusal to declutter. Much church junk, work junk, age old offences stock our mental drawers, feed our conversation and wrap us in misery. There is virtue to decluttering. We tend to hold on to things we feel we may need for our defence sometime in the future, (as I did to my fax machine), memories of past wrongs, carefully nurtured remembrance of someone else’s perfidy, heaven forbid that we forget, that would be too easy for them.
But decluttering means throwing overboard all that is not contributing to one’s well-being right now. So Suzy may feel she has got off lightly if you do not keep making pointed barbs about her erstwhile betrayal, well, so what, you need to declutter and this rancour is taking up too much space in your psyche. Decluttering is saying i choose to cease to nurture my anger and indignation at past hurts, my drawers are full and spilling over with bitterness, the treasures within are unreachable, my thoughts are full of bile and i cannot breathe.
So i throw overboard the unforgiveness, the memory of evil done, the deliberate reminders, and even the weekly conversations with Janet about the baseness of all who surround us. Let those who will be base be base still, but i am determined to declutter. I choose a passionate attachment to life, love, joy, peace and sever the connection to rancour and revenge. I am feeling very generous, i will give the vengeance to God, He knows what to do with it.
When you are determined to declutter, you cease to make your business all the goings on in your neighbourhood, workplace, church, and even, in the pastor’s family, now that’s radical. Somehow you cease to notice their son’s pink hair, and the fact that their spouse cannot sing their way out of a paper bag ceases to feed conversation at yoour dinner table. Brother Jo’s rendition of the hallelujah chorus was sub par, would they believe, you did not even notice, truly strange things happen when we choose to declutter.
Of course you may lose a few friends in the process, indeed inherent to the process is that you retrench some friends and some do you as you adapt to strange customs such as truly minding your own business. Decluttering, forgiving, releasing, walking away from emotional junk frees the mind, frees the spirit; light, air, joy, peace become your travelling companions and that heart office truly becomes a magnificent place to function out of, to do life out of. Spring clean my friends, it will do you a world of good, and do the world good.