Last week, the computer mouse on my desk mysteriously fell between the desk and the wall in my office. By “mysteriously”, I mean “was thrown against the wall in frustration over an uncooperative website form I was trying to fill out.”
My desk weighs the equivalent of a mid-sized rhinoceros, so usually things go there to die. But I really needed the mouse, so I lugged the desk away from the wall to find it … and also found the hot mess of stuff keeping my mouse company which is pictured as the lead image for this devotion.
And I thought for a brief moment … this is my life … some days, at least. An odd collection of icons and leftovers that represent all sorts of different parts of days to which I arise. Most of these things are work related, but not all. Some are still useful to me … some are not. I love that pink pig bookmark, and was bugged when I realized it had fallen from the book I was reading (probably a year ago at least). The small bottle of sand has been M.I.A. for at least six months, as I have not used it for a graveside service for quite some time … it was “earth to earth and ashes to ashes”-ing itself into oblivion behind my desk. That rubber band by the scissors was dry and brittle. And I found a paper with a fall 2017 date on it. So, I know the desk hasn’t been moved in more than two years. And I found myself thinking about all the “stuff” that passes through our hands … our hearts … our minds … our lives … in the course of a lifetime. Some leave behind hooks that draw us back to them, some do not and become truly forgotten.
As we are in the early days of our Lenten journey of faith, I thought this might be an accessible image for you, as it has been for me. For isn’t that the task to which God summons us this season? Are we not called to jettison those practices and sentiments … those experiences and burdens that create a hot mess in the hidden places of our lives? Doesn’t Lent, by its nature, invite us to drag out the detritus of our spiritual and emotional lives, and demand that we ask the question, “Why am I still hanging on to this?” Of course, it does. God invites you to do a bit of house cleaning this season. God challenges you to clear out some experiences and practices and memories that may be cluttering up your life and adding no value to your existence. It involved repentance … it demands that we physically “turn” our heads and hearts in a new direction.
So … drag that monster of a desk that is your life away from the wall … and take a look at the darkness behind it. What can be jettisoned … what can be ignored … what can be recovered as a cherished part of your spiritual history? And what positive and beneficial space can be created, in which God can fill you with good things. You might find this to be a freeing Lenten discipline, instead of a burdensome one.