I can’t really explain it, but when the year begins anew, I like cleaning out, organizing and throwing out. I feel motivated to address the feeling that my possessions own me instead of the other way round. It’s the cabinets, the garage, the containers, the attic, the under bed storage, the backs of the closets, the trunk of the car and other subtle hiding places that are daring me to take them on and clean them out.
Perhaps it’s that the beginning of a new year is a kind of starting over. It may be that with limited out door activities, I see more clearly the amount of stuff that takes over the house. And, I’d like to believe that it’s a matter of stewardship and conscious control over all that I have.
So, the garage comes first, then the containers and so on. Each year I make some progress. Every year begins with good intentions and then I slide downhill from there.
Is there a theology of possessions? Well, yes. We are told about the things in our lives that control us. We are told about the lilies of the fields and that their simple existence is loved by God. We are warned about the love of things and building grand houses on sand, worshiping at jeweled temples and so on.
Have I made my case? Anyway, simple living is commendable and healthy because it makes time and space for us to consider and enjoy simplicity for its’ own sake.
A recently published book titled “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” has become quite popular. If you look around Charleston and its environs you will see that as part of the rapid expansion has been the construction of numerous storage facilities. They’re there to help us hide and store the surplus in our lives that we don’t really want to give up. It’s like living like a snail with your house on your back. It’s a burden and it slows us down.
The author of the book, Marie Kondo says that our possessions very accurately relate the history of the decisions we have made in life (pg. 177.) She relates that as the mountain of things diminishes we feel better, more in control, and actually happier. There’s much less to worry about and less to look after. Giving things away, tidying up, opens the door to new experiences and new opportunities because we have more space, mental, physical, and spiritual to enjoy them.
So, welcome to the New Year, a year of lightness, flexibility and openness. We will surely have more room for our faith, our hope and more charity too. God bless us all!