Almost 6 years ago Linda and I were preparing for our move from Langley. That meant combing through 40-plus years of accumulated household stuff. There were many days of tossing and tribulation as we decided what to keep and what to say goodbye to. Without the brilliant organizational work of my tactician wife, we’d still be there.
I’ll be the first to admit it, I am driven by sentiment and I am a keeper. They are not always a good combination. Whether it is a scribbled note or a high-school trophy, I can attach a remembrance, or a feeling and inevitably form an attachment. The problem is once you reach your late sixties it’s pretty apparent when there has been too much attaching and keeping.
The success of our move from a 2,200 square-foot home to our Burnaby condo of 950 square feet was found in the purging. It’s a strong and intimidating word. I have never liked the sound or the prospect of it. Proper purging requires a keen prioritizing eye and the courage to follow through on taking the trash out.
As uncomfortable as the prospect seems, every once in a while our lives, like our homes, need a good purging. Over the years we manage to collect and keep a lot; some of it good and helpful, other stuff that is frankly useless, and some things that are clearly harmful. It might be that we have attached ourselves to petty hurts that are not really worth a second thought or deeper wounds that carry with them years-long grudges. Sometimes we have developed unfounded fears or have allowed poor attitudes to sneak in. Sometimes we have gotten ourselves involved with damaging practices. We have to be careful. Because they have been around for so long we can find comfort in things that have managed to fill an emotional or physical gap.
There really is something to the thought we should live like we have no tomorrow. I suspect if we did, a lot of our junk would drop by the wayside. Today can serve as a starting point for change, for a purging of sorts. While Linda was the organizational genius behind our move, a “life” purging needs a supernatural kick-start. When we ask the Holy Spirit to shed light on the things that need to go He will. To walk free we must walk away, but there may be some work to do first; a conversation, an apology, a decision to set aside, or seeking help when we can’t do it ourselves. It’s never too late and it may only be one thing at a time.
Breaking free from needless attachments and unhealthy behaviours is not easy, but it is a labour of love. Love for others, love for yourself, and most importantly love for Jesus who, as we discover, has an easier yoke and lighter burden.