I am very tempted to devote this week's Word4LIfe to volcanoes, but as I can’t spell the name, let alone pronounce the name of the volcano in Iceland, I might just leave this topic in the hope that things improve quickly. If by this time next week there are still no flights coming out of Europe, I can easily return to a well worn theme that we are really not as in control of our destiny as we imagine.
Instead today I want to break tradition and comment for the third week in a row about clutter. I have been a little shocked at the amount of responses I have received on this topic. It seems that the problem of an ever increasing amount of stuff speaks to many generations in all sorts of places around the world. Last week my favourite response was from someone who shared the following quote with me about clutter. The quote comes from William Morris, an English textile designer, artist, writer and socialist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts movement. Morris had a refreshingly simple idea for determining what you keep in your house and what is not worth the space.
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
Morris’ idea is simple and rather challenging. Sure we will sometimes not know if that thing will one day become useful again, but chances are that the floral shirt you bought in Fiji that looked so exotic in Suva, is not really ever going to be of much use to you in Sydney or Melbourne. Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But if your wife tells you that the wooden sword you bought in New Zealand is an ugly eyesore and has to go, then she is probably right. The only problem I can see with Morris’ idea is that my wife might conclude that I am neither useful nor beautiful, but hopefully the marriage covenant trumps the 'getting rid of clutter' mantra.
When it comes to our intellectual, cultural and most importantly, spiritual development, getting rid of everything that is neither useful nor beautiful could make a real difference. We do tolerate a lot of ugly things like guilt, pride, revenge, bitterness and hatred. They often take up an inordinate amount of space in our cluttered lives and they really achieve less than nothing. There will always be space in our lives for relaxation but when TV, video games, social networking and procrastination take 20 hours or more out of our week, it is hardly surprising that we feel that we are too busy to do the things that matter.
De-cluttering our house allows space for the useful and the beautiful. De-cluttering our lives allows us the joy of being productive and the delight of experiencing real beauty.
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1: 31
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