March 7, 2023

From the Rector…

Several years ago, Steve and I decided to declutter for Lent. We did the Marie Kondo method in which you pull everything out, offer gratitude for those things you are going to get rid of, and then toss ‘em. We were faithful to the process and decluttered our entire house. It felt great! Of course, we have since filled the house back to bursting with stuff that has cluttered our lives, our minds, and our hearts. So, this year, now that I’ve found my voice, my hearing, and my plumbing again—I am back on track. Only this time, I am decluttering not only the house, but my body, and my schedule.

The house is easier now that I’ve done this before. I am quicker to recognize the spaces and types of things that feel more like clutter. I find it even easier to let those things go, especially since my mother’s home was destroyed in the tornado and I realized these were all just things. But I am also aware that the last time I decluttered, I tossed a little black bag that I still miss to this day. It’s stuff, I know. But that purse was perfect for my phone, a set of keys, and a driver’s license for a night out. I need to let go of that loss—its not that I grieve it—but I do regret it.

That is the thing with letting go. We still grieve and sometimes we even regret. But it makes the next time a little easier. I’ve never quite found the “perfect” little black bag since then, but sometimes I also wonder if it really was such a perfect purse. The strap was too long, and it would be completely frayed by now. It is time for me to move forward and find something new to replace it instead of simply wishing I had it back. Getting lost in my regret is part of the clutter that I need to clear out of my headspace and out of my heart. Here’s the rub: We know how much physical clutter can weigh us down—quite literally—but are we also as aware of how much our emotional baggage does the same thing? Clearing out one kind of clutter is not going to be as powerful in the transformative life as clearing out all the kinds of clutter.

It’s not just the material possessions that moth and rust can consume and thieves can break in and steal. Angst and frustration and regret and guilt and all kinds of things can rob our souls from the beauty and freedom we are promised. The things we hold on to that don’t bring us joy and only bring us down are the moth and thieves of our destruction. Clearing out that kind of clutter takes some soul-searching. 

It has taken me awhile, but I have finally accepted that my diet and my calendar are part of the clutter of my life. I eat too much and try to do too much. Sure there are some things I can’t not do—but I don’t have to do everything (even though I usually want too). Eating a cleaner diet and reducing the number of calories, sugar, and dairy I normally eat has already helped my body to begin to feel better. Though Monday and Wednesday nights are spent at the church, keeping Tuesday and Thursday nights free this Lent has already helped me to feel freer and experience a lot more fur-baby love which always makes me happier. And an added benefit is that I can do even more decluttering!

Jesus tells us not to store up earthly treasures, but heavenly ones. Those earthly treasures are not simply material in nature. They include resentment, past grievances, old rivalries, resistance to new ways of thinking and being. They are the things we humans get stuck in. And all of that has to be decluttered from our lives in order to store up the heavenly things of love and hope and joy and peace.  

I might occasionally regret the loss of that little black bag, but I’ve never regretted the letting go of my anger, my sorrows, my frustrations. Good luck this Lent and God bless you.

Light and Life,