"If the job wasn't so time consuming, I probably would enjoy it." My thoughts wandered around in my head in the middle of the night. "How many closets do I actually have in this house?" Now that we are moving and the time line is in place, the enormity of the job was beginning to sink in. I realized that I had closets and storage spaces in my house that I hadn't "visited" in years. I had no idea what I would find as I explored.
As each door was opened on a long Saturday with the help of some trusted friends, all the contents were unearthed from each closet. Determined to "travel light" on this next stage of my journey, I sorted quickly through my belongings with a huge trash bag. There were some long ago memories of sweet moments with family and children. There were things that no longer mattered in our everyday lives and had sat silent in the dark for years. And there was trash--games with missing pieces, dusty old clothes, misshapen wire hangers--things taking up space but having no purpose. There were also some surprises in the closets. We uncovered things that I never remembered seeing before. I wasn't even sure they were mine. Not many things, but it was an unusual thought that I had things in my closets that I didn't know anything about and had no idea how I acquired them.
As I was working my way through the day, deep down I began to muse about the dark storage places of my heart. How long has it been since I've opened them up for review? How much trash is in them that has no purpose? How many memories are silently waiting for me to give them space in my head? How many surprises would I find? How many emotions are there that I didn't even know I owned or how they got there?
My trusted friends and I made quick work of each space we looked into. At the end of the day there were more than a dozen large trash bags, my closets were clean, dusted and organized, and my friends knew all my secrets. There was no shame. Only a clean space ready for new adventures. There was the satisfaction of companionship and the completion of a "not-your-favorite" job. There was the sharing of life, past and present with a glance toward the future.
As I went to bed I felt lighter, quieter, ready to move into the next season of my life. Somehow cleaning out closets became a metaphor for my heart. I'm sure there's trash and memories and even secrets I don't know about. I think I'll take my trusted companion, Jesus, along for a day and do some house cleaning. The results will render the quietness of his peace and the sweetness of memories with him. The confusion and dust will give way to clear vision and clean hope for a future unburdened by things that have no purpose. Sounds like great traveling. The preparation is good for the soul.
"Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10
Shelley Lopez, Executive Director
Shelley has been a member of the Springfield community for 29 years. As she lives and works and worships in the city, she uses the metaphor of an old Victorian house restoration to keep her focused on the work she is called to do. Inspired by the words of the prophet Isaiah, she pours herself into "restoring old ruins, rebuilding and renovating, making the community livable again" (Is. 58:12 MSG)