pastoral/spiritual care

Lightening the Load

Many people have rituals to mark the change of seasons.  Recently, I observed one of mine.  After unloading the fall and winter clothes from storage, and putting away the summer clothes, I carefully went through everything, making two piles.  One pile now fills my closet and dresser.  The other pile went into bags to be taken to Goodwill.  It is something I have done for as long as I can remember.  Even when I was a child, my mother would go through the clothes and toys my brother and I had outgrown, to donate the still-usable ones.  It was a time for lightening the load.

Some of the things I give away no longer fit.  Others have simply gone out of fashion or are no longer suitable for me on a day to day basis.  Still other articles of clothing have seen one too many seasons, and a few are too worn out even to give away.  It can be hard to get rid of some of these things, particularly the ones that have sentimental value.  A blouse that reminds me of an old friend, a skirt I wore on a special occasion, or a t-shirt with the logo of a previous vacation destination may tempt me to put them in the keeper pile, even though I no longer wear them.  But keeping them means less room for new additions to my wardrobe, as I have to remind myself every time.

Our lives often get filled with clutter, baggage that becomes familiar and comfortable.  We may hang on to relationships, habits, objects, thought patterns that no longer fit us simply because they have been there for so long, we cannot imagine what we would be like without them.  But from time to time, it is healthy to take inventory, see what works and what doesn’t, then start lightening the load.  It can be scary to release our hold on the familiar, but those vacancies make way for new growth in our lives, even more exciting than a new wardrobe.

God, help us to unclutter our lives.  Show us those things that are ready for the give-away pile and give us the strength to release our hold on them.  We look forward to the new things you have in store for us every time we make room.  Amen.

-- Chaplain Stacy N. Sergent


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