A couple of weeks ago I changed internet providers. The deal came with TV, so for the first time in many years I now have TV in my house. On Monday I headed home over lunch and decided to click on the TV. What came up was a program about hoarding. Many of you have probably seen it before, it’s called “Buried Alive”. Now, after watching for about 10 minutes my instinct was to start gutting my house. I resisted the urge, finished watching and then headed back to the office. However, this program has been running through my mind ever since.
First, I began to think about how much “stuff” we accumulate on the journey. Perhaps, the majority of us are no where near the extreme portrayed in this show, but we certainly collect material things. It is difficult not to really, in a world defined by materialism. Yet , how much of it do we really need? Imagine the extra money we would have if we lived in a minimalist manner!
Then I began to think about how much this kind of hoarding also happens in our emotional and spiritual lives. Unfortunately the things we often hoard are the negative things that produce an energy that essentially saps the life out of us. Things like anger, bitterness, hatred, jealousy, envy just to mention a few. Over a period of time these emotions build to a point that they become debilitating and make it impossible for us to move forward and enjoy the wonders that surround us.
In the programme, as the hoarders started to let go of the “stuff”, to clean out the garbage there was a gradual return to life. With each bag removed, even though it was difficult, you could see burdens lifted, a sense of relief appear and an opening of doors happen that allowed the world to take on a very different feel. The same thing can happen when we work through and dispose of our emotional baggage. Lent is the perfect time to do that. We have been invited to step, with Jesus, into the wilderness. Here, we are challenged to address those things that have accumulated and prevent us from being truly alive. I believe that as each negative thought, feeling, emotion is removed and thrown out there is a burden lifted, tension disappears and the doors begin to open so that we can breathe and be really alive.
It is often said that life is short and indeed it is. When that life is spent hoarding negativity it feels even shorter. My prayer is that you might find the strength to let go of those things that are barriers to enjoying life and the beauty that surrounds. May you breathe deeply and feel the freedom that comes from cleaning house and making room for possibility. May your tension disappear and may your doors open.
May it be so.