It’s January 21st and I’m trying to stay on my New Year’s Resolution horse. The goal is to rid my life of excess and to ensure that the things I have are either used well or, if necessary, are replaced with something sure to last. Extra papers, boxes, things I was keeping “just in case,” are piling on the curb and though the results aren’t immediately obvious when you walk in the door, the inner effect is pretty great. Extra pens, cups in the cabinet, sets of sheets, books, half-full bottles of lotion – GONE to charity or trash and I am thrilling in it. De-cluttering makes for more peaceful living around the house, but aside from that, I find that I’m more able to live more gratefully now that we have a little less. When weighing whether something stays or goes, I ask myself if someone else would appreciate it more than I do; and more often than not, an affirmative answer rings in my head, setting off the cue to detach and put it in the Give Away Box.
The whole procedure has to go beyond material, though. Sure, there’s more space under my kitchen sink but what I really want is to de-clutter my soul so, like our more peaceful home living, the Holy Spirit is more free to move and work through me. As cut-throat as I can be in letting go of a shirt I haven’t worn in 3 years or tossing old college notes, I have to be the same with sin. There’s just no room; but like the rest of the junk, I’ve made space for it and held on to it for years, sometimes out of habit. The Rx for this is Mass, more frequent confessions, and individual prayer time. Without them, my soul is a wrecked room in desperate need of a dusting.
After continuing the purging process, my eyes are opened to what I have materially and spiritually. Because the whole Resolution thing is definitely a one-day-at-a-time sort of deal, today I’m focusing on the gifts of my children. Right now, several hours before they wake, I’m resolving to read to them, be silly with them, dance to songs repeated a million times over, and show them that I love them with focused enthusiasm for their littleness and innocence. My boys are often taken for granted and I need to increase how frequently I truly delight in them and their colorful personalities. Do you ever just stare at your kids in humble wonder at who they are?
The “urge to purge” is steady itch that I’m willing to scratch just about any time when it comes to my house; but I think it’s just an external sign of the internal reality that there’s more scrubbing to do in my soul than in my tub. What external tendencies do you have that are indicative of your soul’s inner-workings?