My parents have been moving home: we call it 'flitting' - do you guys across the Pond call it that? This 'flitting' has meant that for the past days I've been all boxed in.
Putting stuff into boxes. Taking stuff out of boxes. Organising boxes: To Go. To Stay. For Charity. For Dump. Arguing over boxes: This ought to go, Mum. You haven't worn this in over a year, Mum. Why keep this, Mum?
If you have moved house, these are all gonna sound familiar. Stuff. Stuff. Stuff.
My Mum, being the sentimental type, has stuff going back decades. She has, in a frame, the last shock of corn my Grandpa harvested before he passed away. She can't throw it out. I certainly can't throw it out, even though I know it's absolutely ridiculous. And so it remains.
She also had a dog lead. It belonged to the dog we used to have. That all sounds reasonable enough, until you realise that the dog died over 20 years ago.
The lead went.
Wedding invitations ... from weddings that took place a decade - or two - ago.
"Chuck 'em, Mum. The wedding has been. The couple can hardly even remember their wedding day. They've had kids." Wedding days blur into a haze once we have kids, right?
The cards have stayed. Mum thinks they're safe. But today is another day, and I'm on the case.
All this stuff has made me realise how important it is in practical terms to have a real clear-out every few years. We've been in our house now for six years, and I can see it's time for a major de-clutter. This flitting has inspired me and if, after it is all done, I have any energy left, I am going to attack our own house with a passion.
All this stuff also makes me realise how much of this world's things we buy and keep. Stuff, stuff, stuff.
'All is vanity', it makes me think. This is not a criticism of my mum, by the way. How can it be, when I have a houseful of stuff too. But the truth is that I probably don't need half of what I have here. We say we don't want to live worldly lives, but the truth is that we live exactly like the richest 5% of people in the world. If an 'outsider' were to visit Earth, he'd never know that my treasure was elsewhere. He wouldn't know, by looking at all my stuff, that I believe the things of this world to be transient; that my heart claims to love the things of Christ, which cannot be seen nor bought; and that my heart longs for that better country, whose Builder and Maker is God.
And so, whilst de-cluttering my home may be useful, de-cluttering my heart is essential.
"Seek those things which are above... Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:1,2)
(last night's sky as I was heading to bed)