This week we held (are holding) our first annual Rummage Sale, sponsored by the PTA, Saturday April 6th, from 9am to 2pm. I hope you were able to take advantage of the great opportunity, both to build community and to simplify our lives.
Also, the PTA is holding a month-long clothing drive in cooperation with clothingshoedrive.com. The drive begins April 1st and continues until May 18th. On May 18th, there is a Community Drop Off day from 10am to 2:30pm.
Both of these events are great enticements for us to do some Spring Cleaning! They also entice us to ask the question (now popular) “Does this [insert item] bring me joy?”
While I am not a direct advocate for any television program, its popularity has spurred large upticks in donated items. You know what they say, one person’s junk is another’s treasure.
All of this tidying calls to mind the goldfish effect. We have the tendency to “grow into” whatever space in which we are placed… like the humble goldfish. Larger houses, bigger garages and closets usually mean more stuff, whether or not it truly brings us joy.
A great Quaker attitude can keep the goldfish effect at bay. For discernment, three questions are posed: “Do I want it? Do I need it? Can I live without it?” That is the kicker! Can I live without it? Probably. Even at the grocery store, I sometimes fall prey to stocking up, even if I already have a bunch of cereal waiting in the cupboard. Better to leave it on the shelf , rather than have it sitting on my shelf.
The same principle holds true for larger purchases as well. Of course, we want many things and we imagine how our life will be with the new air fryer (or whatever is on your list), but we must acknowledge that in most cases, we do not need it and can probably get along just fine without it.
So, during these weeks, I would invite us all to participate in these great tidying events, more as givers and simplifiers than shoppers and consumers. And when our homes are more spartan, it will be our communal challenge not to reaccumulate, but instead to live by the great Quaker examination.
Ultimately, as Christians we seek to be detached from even the possessions that we have. Detachment is a state of readiness to be without, a freedom to let an object, or an experience, or even a relationship pass from us and move along down “the river of life.” Clinging is the opposite of detachment. In relationships, holding on too tight often harms the beloved and the lover. While little harm can come to a toaster oven, we can be harmed by a possessiveness. Think of the way Gollum was obsessed with the Ring of Power in the Lord of the Rings… “My own… my precious!!!” The ring captivated and enslaved him. An important aspect of true freedom is freedom to be detached from our possessions.
Happy Spring Cleaning!