At our house, there are five people, two dogs and three cats, and our
collective paraphernalia no doubt should strike fear into the heart of
the Domestic Goddess who cleans for us each week. But somehow, it
doesn’t. She approaches each room and each task with a graceful calm.
She sees the things that I pass by busily and straightens them out. She
puts the stuffed animals back on The Princess’ bed in a way that
suggests a cozy family instead of a zoo explosion.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to hang onto things. I am the daughter of a mother who kept neat lists and organized drawers, but I seem to have inherited only the tendency to throw nothing away. But at certain times of the year, I feel moved to sort through and toss out, and although I may get to only one room or one corner, the process is cathartic. It helps to remind me what really matters.
"Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and
corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in
heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious,
isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most
want to be, and end up being." (Matthew 6:19-21, The Message)
You may think of Lent as a time for giving things up: Pepsi
or chocolate or smoking, usually something you like and think you shouldn’t. I
like to turn it around the other way, to seek out what is essential for the
journey we will take to Jerusalem in the coming weeks, walking alongside Jesus. I’ll be reducing piles of papers
and magazines, recycling where it’s possible, reusing or repurposing what I
can, and most importantly reassessing where I spend my time and energy. I think
of it as a Spring Cleaning of the inner house.
Such tidying is sometimes painful. Sometimes we do need to
give things up, to put things down, and even to throw things away. When we
recognize that an affiliation or a commitment or a relationship no longer
honors who we are called to be, we may find ourselves saying unexpected
farewells. The people who followed Jesus to Jerusalem left their families and their work
behind; they traveled with only what they wore, counting on the hospitality of
others for their bed and board. They knew where their treasure lay; they found
it in the life and heart of their friend and teacher.
What do you treasure, truly? Where do you most want to be?
As we walk the journey through Lent together, I hope we will each come to know
the place where our treasure lies.