... in spring-cleaning

Published on 24 Sep 2017
A bookshelf with a whole row of books one which says 'the best we can do' on the spine.

Every now and again, but not often enough, I try to go through my things, (especially books, clothes and random papers) and work out what I need to keep, what I can give away, what can go to a charity shop and what is destined for the bin. I relish the opportunity to give to charity and while I can't say I enjoy throwing things in the bin,  it is satisfying to make the space, and I feel a little smug after it is all done with.

Weirdly though, I am much better with objects than I am with the parts of my life or the people in it, not least because here a sense of guilt and responsibility comes to play. I have recently had to look over the things in my life and try to prioritise what I did with my time. The amount of time I had and what was important to me had shifted, and for a long time I felt I was swimming against the current, trying to do all the things I'd always done, not realising that it was slowly grinding me down and things which should have felt great were beginning to feel like chores, even seeing my friends. 

I've had to really look over things and work out whether they were, in the end, good or bad for me and the people around me. I suppose this is quite Ignatian, though I am not sure I've prayed about it nearly enough. 

We forget  – or at least, I forget! – that listening to God can sometimes be consonant with listening to oneselves. Very good at telling others they must do what was best for them, I'd totally ignored this advice myself. However, gradually the wisdom seems to be trickling through to me, and slowly I've begun to work out what I should give up, what I should keep, what I should do more of. Doing so had meant relinquishing things I thought were important parts of me, but also it has meant rediscovering treasures, including people, who I'd almost forgotten about.

I feel that God has been present in this process somehow, and one of the things he seems to be saying is that it is going to take some time, but he's not going anywhere.