On Saturday, I decided to “get ‘er done” and clean up around here. The holidays and illness had taken a toll, but after several hours, I’d managed to restore our house to a home again.
As dusk appeared on the horizon, I stepped onto my back deck to start taking the trash bags down to the trash can. Goodness! In my cleaning flurry, I’d not realized how much I was purging from our home–quite a deed for someone who likes to upcycle and recycle. The bags back there were filled with items of no use to anyone, yet I had allowed these things to clutter my home for months on end. Why had it taken so long for me to let them go?!
Yesterday, I found my answer at church in a handful of words in the sermon. (Sometimes, God is all-knowing like that–giving you just the right words at just the right time and in a way that says, “If you don’t realize these are for you then you’re not using the G0d-given sense I bestowed up on you.”)
In talking about preparing for the new year, our minister spoke about taking out the proverbial trash. What is the “trash?” It is the behaviors that consume the body, mind and spirit in unhealthy way. At the end of the old year, we make the opportunity to take out the trash–to decide what we want to change about ourselves or habits we want to let go. We then commit ourselves to resolutions that take us down a new path on our journey.
Sitting in the pew, I thought about what it means to take out the trash. It’s about more than just tossing stuff in a bag. It requires a letting go–a surrendering of part of who we are and who we’ve become so that we can have a more fulfilling life. Giving up those things that clutter the body, mind and spirit, opens us up for life-giving health and wholeness.
As I sat there, I realized–taking out at the trash isn’t about waiting until the end of the year or saving it until a fit of spring cleaning. It’s about letting go on a regular basis–giving it to God so that I can make room for the better parts of me.
After church yesterday, I headed down east to pick up my daughter. When we arrived home, she graciously “ooohed and aaahed” over our home and commented on the amount of time and work it must have taken. “Oh, yeah,” I thought, “little do you know. . .”