Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent Journal: The Purge

(The winter wheat survived its first winter storm.
Photo credit: The Man.)

I've done it. I've gone through the cupboard with all the orphaned tupperware lids and, yea, I have taken out the lids and verily I have put them in the recycling.

I have accepted that the mates to these lids are gone. They have run off to the wild rumpus, which is where wayward, wanton lids go.

I have kept the three or four containers that have lost their lids. They have some potential to be useful, and besides, there is something about a lidless container that makes you feel sorry for it. They're like men whose wives have left them for the milkmen. They've been duped, dumped, taken for granted. I am willing to give them a home until they decide to take a swim in the dishwasher and get melted into weird, unhelpful-for-food-storage shapes.

I have gone through the cabinet with the bowls and the 47 candlesticks we got for wedding gifts and the collection of candle stubs that I'm holding onto because ... because ... well, why am I holding onto those candle stubs? I finally forced myself to throw away the chipped cereal bowl that I've kept for years because one day I might make a mosaic table top. Really, I might.

I have been hating the clutter of these cabinets for well over a year, probably closer to two. Guess how long it took me to straighten them out? Fifteen minutes, tops.

(I believe the marigolds, a few days ago simply past their prime,
are now very much over. But didn't they go out pretty? Photo credit: The Man)

So, anyway, yes, I'm doing an Advent purge. We have too much stuff, and I'm tired of it. How can I prepare a straight path, as wildman John the B would have me do, if my pathways are stewn with candle stubs and chipped cereal bowls?

I spend most of my purge time today in Jack's room, going through his closets and taking out stuff he no longer plays with (or, in some cases, never played with--my kids have too much stuff!). Why, I ask you, why did he have one entire closet shelf piled with EMPTY Lego Starwars boxes? All the models have been built (and probably destroyed, their pieces dumped into the massive ocean of Lego flowing through our house), and yet, the boxes remain, gathering dust in some prime storage real estate.

Sometimes I do not understand my own life. Time to purge! Make straight the paths!


Jody asked what Advent book I was reading. It's a quite wonderful collection called God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas. It has readings for every day of Advent. Last week all entries were by Richard John Neuhaus; this week we hear from Scott Cairns. Other writers include Kathleen Norris and the poet Luci Shaw. There's a marvelous introduction by Eugene Peterson. It's a book I've thought about buying for years and am so glad I finally did.


GretchenJoanna said...

What a good feeling...I am doing a similar thing with the food in my cupboards and freezer, which is a sometimes complicated way to simplify....while trying not to buy anything if I can make do with something that is already here.

I like the image of the straight paths!

Pom Pom said...

Oh my goodness! That sounds like a very good Advent book! Peterson, Shaw, Norris. Yes. Yes.
I deleted your comment when I meant to publish it. So sorry! Thank you for your warm baby wishes. We are so overjoyed. I am a little brain dead though. As Birdie watched Christmas shows this afternoon, I dozed. Tired old Granny, that's me!
Way to go on the purging. I'd like to do a little of that myself. We need so little to do our job - loving others. I don't know why I don't keep that constantly in mind. Thanks for your ongoing Christmas cheer. YOU are FUN to read, Frances.

Tracy said...

Would that I had a moment inside my house with no-one else where purging might happen...without arguments.

Sounds like a lovely productive way to spend time.

Gumbo Lily said...

Cheers to you for making straight the paths! And I love the way you tell it, with honesty and good humor. You're good, so good.

Thank you for the Advent book title. I'm going to have to order it for next year.

Tell the Man good job on the snowy remains pics.


wayside wanderer said...

What a great thing, and really, a complete opposite thing, to do during this season. The snow pictures are really peaceful. Thanks for sharing the info on your Advent devo. I have several already on my wish list and I am going to add this one, too.

Angela said...

But yea verily, whenever I purge myself of lidless tupperware, the lids reveal themselves unto me the following day!
I am attempting to be ruthless about it though.
Advent is a good time to declutter.

blessings xx

victoria said...

It's strange how much I enjoyed reading about you chucking out stuff.
I did our boys room last week and got rid of all the toys they don't care for anymore. Then afterwards I felt all sad about it, because it was all the babyish stuff they didn't want, so the room suddenly looked too grownup. Anyway, carry on...

Amanda said...

We are decluttering here too. Who can enjoy Christmas in chaos? Thank you so much for your funny and wise posts -- I look forward to them!

magsmcc said...

Write us more!