April 23 – “Garage. Part 1”

I’m grateful to everyone who has inquired as to the state of my garage. I mentioned that I was going to spend part of my sabbatical cleaning it out. I was waiting until it warmed up. No excuse today, so I put on my shorts and t-shirt (it felt soooo good!!), and went to see what I was up against.

Clearly, this will take more than one day. It’s a mess.

I wish I could say I came across a great treasure today, or unearthed a family heirloom, but alas it was just junk, junk and more junk.

Now that Jack has crossed the frontier into teenage-hood it did seem like I could move more items from “you-never-know-if-they –will-play-with-it again” pile into the “it’s-over-and-done-with” pile. An old pair of taped up street hockey goalie pads made it into the junk pile, as did a number of well used buckets and shovels from the beach. A couple of rickety skateboards are dump bound, as are several half deflated soccer balls from the days when we could never seem to have too many soccer balls.

Every item brought back some pretty sweet memories. But this is no time to get sentimental, as I am on a mission to declutter. Every addition to the dump-pile in the middle of the garage, evoked a feeling of being a little lighter, a little more free.

Bertrand Russell once said, “fresh air brings vigor and great spaces have a splendour of their own”. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t referring to a clean garage, but I think he was recognizing that when we can open up physical space, we can open up in general. There is something deeply satisfying about getting rid of stuff and seeing in its wake a clear, orderly and open space, ready for something new. It doesn’t just look good, it feels good!!

Perhaps that is why in the Christian tradition we give credence to the idea of confession/redemption. When we take time to get rid of the junk of life which fills our spiritual/emotional garage, we can open up space for something new, and fresh. Sometimes we all need to own up to our junk and have someone say, “Yes, that is junk, but YOU are not junk!  Leave it on the pile and move on”.  Isn’t that what hope is all about, believing in ourselves and each other enough that we can move forward from the past in order to create space for something new to happen??

Tomorrow is stage two. I get to go through all the boxes and bins hidden in the far reaches of the garage that haven’t been touched for months if not years. I wonder what I will find? I wonder what I will keep? If today is any indication, my junk pile will grow, and the space that I leave behind will patiently wait for something new. And there will be hope.