We’re in the process of moving. It’s a process because we have weeks to accomplish the goal. Therefore, some members of my household are dragging their feet and others are lunging at the gate. (I won’t tell you which category I fall into.)
This afternoon we filled the box truck with another load. This load included the living room couch, area rugs, coffee table and sofa table; all my books and bookshelves; and the kitchen table and chairs. My living room and dining room are now a vast expanse of empty space. I kind of like it.
As we’ve been packing and sorting and separating, it has occurred to me that we pack the empty spaces in our lives with “stuff.” Why? I think we’re afraid of empty space. We’re afraid of silence. We’re afraid of hunger. We’re afraid of the uncomfortable and the inconvenient and the unpleasant. So we fill the spaces in our lives with “stuff.”
- Books we’ve read and never intend to read again that line our shelves.
- Blankets and towels and linens in enough quantity to supply a small army (or at least a Boy Scout troop).
- Pictures and knick-knacks and tchochkes and fluff to soften the impact of blank walls and empty tabletops.
- “Spares” of everything from vases to toothbrushes to screwdrivers.
- And that’s just what’s in the house… I won’t even begin to analyze all the “stuff” in the garage and shed, because that’s hubby’s domain, and we’ve already had multiple discussions about whose stuff is cluttering up that space. (At least my junk was in boxes. That’s my excuse.)
Remember the TV commercials that featured children padding themselves up with toilet paper to protect against falls or spankings? How much of the stuff in our lives is merely our attempt to provide padding in case we take a tumble or get rebuked?
As I’m in this process of spiritual renovation, I see the same pattern in my spiritual life… discovering all the “extras” I’ve been using in my relationship with God—religious tchotchke’s that satisfiy the fleshly desire for religious accolades while leaving the spirit empty and bereft. I go to pray and God interrupts me: “Is that you, or is that Memorex?” Am I praying by rote—merely reciting words I’ve heard others say—or is my communication with my Creator and Savior alive and interactive? He’s alive, therefore my communication ought to be alive as well, shouldn’t it?
The world around us is becoming more and more complicated. Even as social communication and interaction increase, so do confusion and misinterpretation and even outright deception. It’s time, spiritually and naturally, to apply the principles of simplicity: freedom from complexity, freedom from intricacy, or division into parts; the absence of pretentiousness; and sincerity.
I believe it’s time for us to get simple, time to apply the KISS principle. (Keep It Simple, Stupid.) Where have YOU complicated your life? Your spiritual walk? Your relationships with others? As someone has said, “when things don’t add up, start subtracting.”
How can, or do, you need to simplify?
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