Monday, July 02, 2007


As I mentioned in a recent combox response, I am a "thrower-awayer" and my wife is a "oh that has sentimental value so I'm going to keep that receipter!"

It drives me nuts! :-)

This usually comes out when we are either doing "spring" cleaning (which, for me, is every 3 months!) or like now, when we are preparing to move.

I am amazed at how much "stuff" we have accumulated and how well we've hidden it from ourselves in our apartment here in South Florida. And accumulated stuff we have! So, I have devised a system for sorting said stuff. One box (actually several boxes) is for "Yard Sale and/or Goodwill." One box(es)is marked "Storage" and the last box(es) is marked "Boston Bound."

Going through our stuff I have discovered clothes that no longer fit (I'll let my gentle reader give me the benefit of the doubt as to why), books that not only don't I want, but, for the life of me, cannot figure out why I have them in the first place, and trinkets that seem to serve not other purpose but to take up space in the box where they currently reside. Throw it all out!!!!!

But then the sweet voice of my bride reminds me that I bought that for her on our second date when we went out to eat and that receipt is the first time we went to the movies together. That little item was given to us for our wedding. "What does it do?" I ask. No one is sure but since it was a wedding gift, it has now taken on cosmic significance and must be kept, else if the giver ever comes to our home they may ask after the well being of said gift!

Then there is the general clutter that humans, especially well fed well paid and well comforted Americans, seem to gather into their orbit. This is the clutter that drives me most insane, the stuff that simply is stuff for stuff's sake! TRASH! Throw it out!

But wait, did you look at that piece of paper? Wasn't that the warranty information on the rice cooker that was given to us by Aunt so and so? Don't we need to keep that doctor's note for future reference? Ugh!

Now, I hear you all out there. Create a scrapbook. Put that warranty information is a warranty file. Keep all the medical records together in one place. Well, ain't you sweet for saying so! God bless your heart!

That's the rub, and I think it is also a metaphor for our spiritual lives. Without diligence, we allow "clutter" to invade our lives physically and spiritually. The steady, boring, matter-of-fact attention to purposeful living doesn't garner the headlines either here or in heaven, but it sure does produce the peaceful fruit that has eternal value. But we have "so much to do." We are so busy with this or that event, project, relationship, etc. that we "forget" to pay attention to the discipline of living.

This is why I find the Divine Liturgy so instructive. Sure, it isn't "seeker sensitive." It doesn't change all that much. It doesn't "wow" the general crowd. But for those with "ears to hear" it provides the rhythmic disciplines necessary to keep me awake to the living of life as real life and not the delusions we all too often fall into. If I just will, the daily prayers of the faith will keep me conscious to authentic life and I will be given the wisdom to discern between "clutter" and treasure.

So, the Keeper and the Discarder face the task of moving and in it are invited by the Holy Spirit to know God and become by grace what He is by nature.

Who knew?


Lucian said...

Your wife is the beauty-loving Orthodox. You're the utilitarian Protestant. :p)

Hope everything turns out all right with Your grandma. :(

Barnabas Powell said...

O, Lucian, you found me out! I'm not quite sure you appreciate how uncomfortable that level of transparencey makes me! :-)

Thanks for the kind words about my grandmother. She is now in hospice and we are simply waiting for a call.