I opened the door to my study and for the first time in 12 years my heart sank. Nothing had changed, the two thousand books were in their cases, the filing was either in the cabinets or sitting patiently on the desk, the boxes that contain all the course notes I made when I took my degrees were stacked in their pile.
There were the Bibles, the hymn books, the prayer books, the candle, the stones, the pieces of material, 24 years worth of worship resources, sermons and notes not to mention the magazines collected because they all contain good ideas and might come in handy one day.
There were also the things that no one knew what to do with and to be honest quite a lot of rubbish. It was all familiar so why on this occasion did it feel that I was seeing it all for the first time and felt weighed down?
We had just heard that daughter number four was going to come home to live for a while after several years living in the Midlands, which meant that my study would have to become her bedroom and the smaller dining room would be my study.
In short I had to move the things I wanted to keep and get rid of the things I didn’t. There was a strange sound and it took me a while to realise that it was a groan coming from somewhere deep within. It was going to take a long time and I really had too much to do to even think about it.
Two weeks later, thanks to my husband, the new study was set up and it’s much better to work in. The desk is clear, the filing done and the books I’ve kept are the ones I use; but it was difficult. If only I’d been ruthless and thrown things away or recycled them as I’d gone along it would have been so much easier. I wouldn’t have had to get rid of 20 bags of ruthlessly sorted paperwork, or recycled books, magazines or Methodist Recorders that contained all that good stuff I was never going to look at again.
What about the former study? Not such good news I’m afraid, there are still things in there I don’t know what to do with sitting in piles that will have to go somewhere soon but at least I can now see the wood for the trees.
It certainly made me think. How do we get so cluttered up with stuff? Evidently it’s the year of minimalism, more people are living simply and getting rid of the clutter just as Jesus suggested. I don’t think that’s really going to work all the time for me, despite my best intentions, but I can see that it has its merits.
But perhaps it’s not only our living space that gets cluttered up but our lives, our emotions and our faith. Do we have the space that we need to live our lives successfully, is there anything we need to sort out and chuck out? Maybe we’ve avoided them for so long that they’ve become so familiar and we barely notice them anymore. There are things that weigh us down or hold us back perhaps; things that stop us from praying or spoil our relationships with other people or with God.
Is it time for a sort out?
My mother always had a spring cleaning time each year when ruthless chucking out took place – including some of our toys I remember! It always looked wonderful when we’d finished and felt so much better. Similar to the way I feel now about the study.
The question is how can I keep it like it and what else do I need to sort out physically, emotionally and physically?
So goodbye for now – I’m off to sort out my wardrobe.