The things we leave behind

About a year ago I overheard the some ladies at a church group raving about death cleaning.  They weren’t talking to me, but I tuned in to hear what they were saying.  Apparently a few of them had read the book by Margareta Magnusson called The Gentle Art of Swedish death cleaning.  Just overhearing snippets, the thought sounded pretty macabre. But they had peaked my curiosity so I logged on to my library website to see if I could find the book. They had it, and not only that, it was available to borrow. I downloaded it right away. I had to see what all the fuss was about.

My newest pastime is listening to books on tape while I do other things. The book is about decluttering your life while you are still alive. What a great gift to give our loved ones so they don’t have that task once we are gone. The book was informative, entertaining, and fun to listen to while I sat sewing. I have been working on doing this ever since.  Actually I’ve done a lot of that by necessity every time we moved houses or cities or states, but this time I’m doing it deliberately, and consciously, not in a mad rush to pare down for a move. Throughout life, we all struggle with the things we have to give up, the things we leave behind, because of space, or forgetfulness, or because they no longer serve a purpose in our lives. None of these reasons make it any easier to let go.

If we follow the ConMari method of tidying up, we thank items for their service, and let them go. What isn’t stressed in that scenario is to meditate on our feelings as we hold the things, being aware of where in our inner beings those feelings are held, and then knowing that we don’t need to hold onto things, because we already have within us, whatever we think the things that we own, hold.   Ecclesiastes 3:6 says there’s ‘a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away.’

There are also other things we need to leave behind. Not just physical things. Hebrews 12:1 says: ‘therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us’. But sin is not the only thing we need to leave behind. We also need to ‘get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:31.

There are so many instances in the Bible where it points out things that should remain in the past. Let me close with one of my favorites from Philippians 3:13-14 ‘Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’