Clean out the barn!
This Sunday, we get a “Parable of Perspective” which promotes a truth that comes to life at every estate sale, junk store and flea market: some day, everything you own—everything—will either belong to someone else or will rot, rust, and roll!
The points of the parable are many. Give stuff away. Invest your energy in things that endure. Don’t waste your love on that which cannot love you back. And, perhaps the most difficult of all, be content.
Contentment is fast becoming a lost art. The odds seem to be stacked against it. We live in an age where the shiniest, newest, prettiest toys are the most promoted and, thus, most coveted. We upgrade computers and cell phones faster than Microsoft emails patches. Plus, we live in an area of the country where prestige is often hardwired to “late-model” and cutting-edge is king. It’s so tempting to build a bigger barn or rent another storage unit!
Maybe the remedy called for is actually a two-part process. The first step is to “de-clutter.” Take a deep breath, open the attic/cellar/closet door, then sort and purge. If you haven’t used it in two years, give it away or throw it away. Use the Japanese method of kanmari: if it doesn’t “spark joy” in you, get rid of it. Use baby steps. Start with the junk drawer in the kitchen! However you do it, clearing up the physical can also have a calming effect on the mind and soul as well.
The second part is more spiritual. It’s developing a sense of contentment with “stuff” in life and with life in general. If the guy in the Gospel had as much contentment as he had grain, he’d be building bridges rather than barns, through sharing his good fortune with his neighbors. Contentment is cultivated. It’s learned and taught. Although it’s not very shiny, it is so attractive when you perceive it in someone….the calmness, the peace, the “unclutter”……of having enough…