I mentioned in a previous blog that I was going to take on the audacious task of sorting my old sermons, decluttering most of them into the recycling bin. It turns out that was not so much audacious as it was overambitious. I read through the first stack, and would get caught by a turn of phrase I had used, or the memory of a particular church, or a forgotten person, trip or event was used as a sermon illustration and so it came back to me as I read through the papers. It took me two hours to go through just one set of messages. It was exhausting mentallly, and I didn’t need to put myself through the exercise: they were all perfectly well contained in file folders in desk drawer. There was no immediate need to put that job at the top of my “to do” list.
So why did I do it? First of all, I thought it would be easy, a quick job to do, and then I could cross if off my list, and move on with the rest of my life. Second, well, there is no other reason, I really thought it would be easy. I underestimated the emotional and mental energy involved in sorting through sermons: it would be like asking an artist to declutter by choosing paintings to go in the trash. Letting go of a creation, whether it’s a painting, a piece of embroidery, a sermon, a piece of woodwork, or a child, is hard.
So now I’ve made two audacious decisions as the twin Grinches of Covid and lawsuits that seek to invalidate the election results try to steal the joy of Christmas:
One, it’s okay to keep it simple and focus my decluttering on unwanted clothes and other items without high emotional content. I’ll put my outgrown clothes that i still like and hope to fit into some day in a tub, I’ll keep them in one place because if I need to move, it’ll be easy to either move that one tub too, or donate them all at once. I’m not financially secure enough to guarantee that I’ll be able to buy new clothes as a reward for my weight loss as some suggest.
Two, since Christmas will be so different this year, and my audacious year feels like it’s been reduced to a “To Do” list, I’m going to intentionally add some joy-giving activities into each day. I want joy to define the day for me rather than how many chores I’ve accomplished in my Morning and Evening Routines. It gives me joy to help others, it gives me joy to sing carols at the top of my lungs as I drive, it gives me joy to look at beautiful art, it gives others joy I think when I post pictures of my cats. And it gives me profound joy to pray for others and a deep sense of peace comes as I pray by candlelight.
With forces threatening to leech the joy from the season, I’m choosing to keep doing the steps that will lead me to be able to walk up the hill on Iona and live in peace in my own skin and home. And I’ll step away from choosing the emotionally exhausting stacks to sort, and instead find ways to help others each day, because this is a good time for me and for all of us to do our bit to join CindyLu Who and give joy a chance.
Today’s Prayer Poem: the lyrics of “Go Light Your World” by Chris Rice
There is a candle in every soul Some brightly burning, some dark and cold There is a Spirit who brings fire Ignites a candle and makes His home Carry your candle, run to the darkness Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn Hold out your candle for all to see it Take your candle, and go light your world Take your candle, and go light your world Frustrated brother, see how he's tried to Light his own candle some other way See now your sister, she's been robbed and lied to Still holds a candle without a flame Carry your candle, run to the darkness Seek out the lonely, the tired and worn Hold out your candle for all to see it Take your candle, and go light your world Take your candle, and go light your world We are a family whose hearts are blazing So let's raise our candles and light up the sky Praying to our Father, in the name of Jesus Make us a beacon in darkest times Carry your candle, run to the darkness Seek out the helpless, deceived and poor Hold out your candle for all to see it Take your candle, and go light your world Carry your candle, run to the darkness Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn Hold out your candle for all to see it Take your candle, and go light your world Take your candle, and go light your world
Grace, peace, and joy to you!