I’m staying at my parents’ house this week, and today, for the first time in years, I found within myself a tiny bit of motivation to clean my room. For a very, very long time, I’ve been avoiding this task—I didn’t want to even begin clearing it out because I knew it would be a monstrous job, and I wouldn’t be able to finish during one visit. Instead, whenever I’ve visited home over the past few years, I’ve just added more and more piles of boxes and books, compounding the problem. But this week, as I tiptoed around the piles and tried to find a space to sit with my laptop, I became fed up enough with the mess to finally start throwing things into a trash bag and sorting them to be donated or stored away. It’s just as difficult a job as I’d imagined it to be: there are layers upon layers of useless things—with a few priceless memories mixed in between, so that I can’t just toss everything altogether but have to sort through it all. It’s hard to figure out where to put everything while I still haven’t cleared out new spaces in my bookshelves—right now, the mess looks even worse than when I started. And I’m not allowed to do any heavy lifting post surgery, so there are some boxes that will have to wait for another time. Cleaning my room is a huge job, and I won’t be able to finish it all this week. But I will be able to make a good amount of progress. For once, instead of making the problem worse during a visit home, I’ll make it at least a little bit better. I’m glad I finally started the process, and I’m marveling at how I let it get this bad in the first place.
I think I was a bit of a hoarder as a child—I had trouble parting with every finger painting and tacky Chuck-E.-Cheese prize. Each little thing in my room reminded me of something—the coin I got when we picked up my grandma at the airport, the notes on scraps of lined paper that my friends and I passed to each other in class, the rock I found on the beach, the calendar page from the first day of school. I treasured all these things. But while I still take comfort in memories, I’m realizing that I can’t let myself become too attached to these physical objects—after all, they are still only just things. If I allow the physical reminders of my past to pile up around me to the point where I can’t focus on what I need to do today, then I’m holding myself back.
Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.
Jesus didn’t own anything that he couldn’t carry on His back. He didn’t have a home where He could keep piles of memories and old junk. During His public ministry, He lived each day on a journey, knowing that He was not meant to stay where He was forever. I may not be called to that level of detachment, but I clearly still have something to learn about my attitude toward earthly possessions. I can’t let the things of this world weigh me down, because whatever I have stored up here is not what really matters. This is not my true home. I can hold on to the things that remind me of life’s greatest joys, as long as I remember that they are just things. But I ought to clear out all the clutter and distractions, if only to make it easier for me to see the more precious things hiding among them.