Thursday, June 24, 2010

Some Thoughts on Summer and Purging

It has actually happened.  Summer seems to have finally arrived in the Great Northwest, for more than a few hours. Today, Thursday June 24, is day two of real, unabridged sunshine and warmth.  Hal-layy-loooo-yahhhh!  It came in the nick of time too; I was preparing to suggest on Sunday that we move the church to the Caribbean.

Inspired by the dumpster party we had to clean up church flood damage last weekend, we ordered our own dumpster (pictured above).  It's far larger than we need, but it was the same price as the one half the size.  And this is America, so the bigger one seemed the logical option.  A dumpster either means you're getting a new roof, or it's a bad sign of having bought into the lies of materialism for too many years.  We're not getting a new roof.  Hopefully we are cleaning out the junk and tidying up our lives, and not just the garage.

All of this dumpster/tossing out/tidying up stuff has spiritual ramifications, of course.  And it's part of what summer is all about: Opening up real and symbolic attic doors, lugging things out of web-filed garage corners and cluttered backyard paths.  Cutting down overgrown brush and yanking out wild weeds.  It's a time of evaluation and asking,
"Do I really need this anymore?"
Or, "When did this get so bad?"
And sometimes, "Oh my, I've been wondering where this went.  I've been needing this for so long."

As important as the evaluation process is, it doesn't really matter unless the junk actually gets tossed out.  A few years ago we had a dumpster.  We went through the whole house and pulled junk from every room, getting rid of everything we that wasn't good enough to give away or sell.  But a couple of days after the dumpster was gone, we realized that we had neglected to toss in the one big thing that we really wanted to get rid of - a mattress under Amanda's daybed that was my brother's before I was born.  The disgusting old thing was at least 50 years old and it weighed, no joke, about 100 pounds.  At least 30 lbs of that is probably dust and mites, I figure.  I hated that mattress.  But we had forgotten it and so, to this very day, it has stayed in our house.

What old, mite filled, stained burdens are hanging around your place?

Summer, with warm sunny days, is a great time to pull stuff out into the Light and do some honest evaluation.  What needs to be dusted off and saved, or even treasured once again?  And what (behaviors, damaging relationship patterns, addictions, habits, burdens, etc)  should be joyously and enthusiastically lobbed into the dumpster because they are cluttering life - or damaging - you?

That old mattress is the first thing going in the drop box today.  It's going to be great.

- Curtis
(P.S. This post has little, if anything, to do with the sermon this week.  Except that self-evaluation and letting things go is often a part, or a consequence, of true rest)