Thursday, October 14, 2004

~ clean sweep ~

God is doing a work in me. He’s walking through my rooms and halls, checking every corner, tearing down the unsafe walls and letting in the light. I am working hard to clean my house and set it straight, to not let pride get in the way, to catch an eternal vision of what I am to become. It seems easier living out my life in Christ for those do not know me; to hide the thorn stuck in my side and all my secret faults. But you know me well and it’s you I want the most to see and recognize the changes. A word from you empowers me to press on for my goal. Will you help me be new? Will you hold me to the promises that I have made? Will you let me be new? Forgive my old self, and my old mistakes. When I feel condemned to live my old life, remind me I’ve been given a new life in Christ ~ Sara Groves

I recently spent a full week of vacation at home, sorting through stuff. Don’t let the image mislead you. I was not gazing lazily through boxes of mementos (although there were instances of such), nor was I simply throwing out the summer tops I hadn’t worn this year because they were so 1994 (yes, I did some of that too – specifically by parting with my hideous “class of ‘94” t-shirt, featuring a “whoop, there it is” logo on the back – considering I chose not to attend my 10 year reunion, it seemed only right). What I did in that week was much more difficult, much more exhausting, and much more freeing than I imagined it would be.

Having moved back home over a year ago to save some money (Gretchen had decided to follow her dream to New York, I couldn’t think of anyone I would really like to live with, and I knew that moving out on my own again would only dig me deeper into debt), I had a corner of my parent’s storage building piled floor to ceiling. Mind you, when we moved out of the Hillcrest house, I sold some of my furniture and mounds of easier to part with items. I also placed a good number of items in a garage sale this spring to support a missions teams. What I was now attempting to tackle were those items I had deemed vital – the ones I had placed neatly into plastic totes so that I would have them when I moved out. My plan when I moved in with my parents was to save up so that I could buy a house, decorate it, and fill it with even more stuff. My former future was closed up in those boxes, sticky from spider webs and stale from the passing of time. Additionally, I was filtering through the boxes of papers that had both built up in my room and been placed in storage to go through later. This was later.

I spent a week hauling boxes out of storage, picking out the few and rare items that I still felt a desire to hang on to and placing the rest back into the boxes to be disposed of. I got rid of all of my furniture (that wasn’t with me in the house) except for a coat rack and two vintage lamps. I boxed up most of my kitchen, all of my bathroom, half of my bookshelves, and the majority of my trinkets. I threw away birthday cards I never looked at, notes from friends who had weighed me down, old term papers that reminded me of how much I have forgotten. I threw out journals full of three point sermons and spoon-fed theology. And I filled large bags with shirts from events long past. I cleaned house. I think the most entertaining part of my week was loading all of these items into my brother-in-law’s truck, driving them over to dogtown for a yard sale at my sister’s house, unloading and loading again. I really liked driving that truck. I need to get one of those. After the yard sale, with a measly 100 bucks in my hand, we placed all that was left on the curb. It was soon picked up by a family that drove by, to give to a single mom and her daughters.

Since then I’ve been steadily trying to get rid of more. It’s amazing how much spiritual and mental space you can clear, simply by clearing out physical items. I am learning to recognize my needs as the wants they are, and realizing that God is already meeting my truest needs through community. I don’t know where I’m headed past this point, but I know that I am working to move forward without the burden of debt and without the burden of stuff. I am no longer attempting to fill up my life with artifacts that tell others about me, but rather learning to let my life speak for itself.

1 comment:

the hamster said...

roth - how fun is it to bump into you again after so long! here's my email: let's do some chatting. i'm digging the blog here, lady. and i love that you open your sight with the be good tanyas. excellent. po girl has a new album coming out this fall. we are listening to cat stevens this morning. my mom lives in little rock. good town. have a good day.