March 8, 2022

From The Rector…

I am Marie Kondo-ing my life as my Lenten discipline this year. I’ve done it before—several years ago—and discovered how attached I can get to things. I’m not sure what exactly drives my attachment needs. Some things hold a sentimental value that I am hesitant to disconnect from. Other things seem to offer a sense of safety and security. There are clothes and shoes that I no longer wear, but once loved. Kitchen utensils that I haven’t used in years, but maybe, one day, I’ll start baking again. Old Christmas cards, tchotchke, enough band-aids to mummify a grown adult, VHS tapes, not to mention all the books and bourbon cluttering every corner of our home. Then there is my computer and phone—filled with old emails and unfiled documents, too many pictures and videos that cost me a ridiculous amount of iCloud storage. My office isn’t that much better—file drawers stuffed to the gills and almost every inch of shelf space filled with books or knick-knacks. If I am being completely honest with myself—its probably more laziness than attachment. Laziness is still a form of distraction. Regardless of the reason, it is time to clear out some space so I can refocus and release all the things that tend to distract me from the joy of what I have in the moment.

I would have thought that the pandemic would have made me more proactive in clearing the clutter—turns out, quite the opposite was true. In these last two years, I’ve clung to things. I am sure it was in part due to security needs—just call me Linus. But I think it was also about feeling frozen. Though we were PIVOTing a lot at church, my personal life couldn’t seem to catch up. Instead of going home and finding new ways of being—I went home, had a drink, and went to bed. All the ways in which we were being forced to change at the church, work, school were exhausting. The only thing that remained constant was home. Going home in the afternoons was about stopping—and I enjoyed that. I didn’t have to think or learn some new technology or wear a mask or face the pressure of being church in a time of disconnection.

As we transition out of pandemic, the things in my life are starting to feel like clutter again. Instead of that clutter offering comfort or security—it feels oppressive and heavy. I am weighed down by my house now, rather than finding it a place of refreshment and renewal. There are days when I would rather just stay at church because then I don’t have to face the constant clutter that continues to pervade drawers, bookshelves, cabinets, baskets, tables, closets, counter tops—you get the idea. It is not as if Steve and I are hoarders—we just have stuff. We buy stuff, people give us stuff, we like stuff. But it is time to decrease the amount of stuff.

I am under no illusion that I won’t buy more stuff in the future—it’s not that I am giving up stuff all together. Instead, by learning to appreciate the things that I have and release them with gratitude, hopefully, the clutter will no longer weigh me down and I will be a little freer in my heart, mind, and soul. A decrease in clutter is also a decrease in the number of distractions that keep me focused on doing that which I do not want to do instead of focusing on those things which are life giving. Less clutter means less to worry about, to take care of, to lug about—literally and metaphorically.  

A man wants to follow Jesus but first he must bury his father. Jesus tells him, “Let the dead bury their own dead.” We are shocked by Jesus’ words, but I wonder if Jesus wasn’t trying to help us see how cluttered our lives become and how easily we are distracted. If the man was so worried about his father, why had he come to listen to the teacher? Why was he not with his grieving mother or making the funeral preparations? As I ponder this passage, I am convicted by all that distracts me in my own life and I realize that tending to the clutter is a bit like being dead to the possibilities and potential of this life. By Marie Kondo-ing my home, I am preparing for resurrection, not simply giving something up for Lent.

Light and Life,