Spring Cleaning, Purging, and Following Jesus

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By GrapOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6748475

Springtime usually brings out the cleaning spirit in many of us. This spring I decided I needed to purge my library of books I no longer had an interest in. The purging fever then quickly shifted to clearing out all those totes in the garage that I had resolved to clean out last year.

So I have been pretty busy over the past couple of weeks. I’ve eliminated at least 60 books and freed up about four totes. As we all know, purging things we have accumulated over the years is not an easy task. It is easy to collect and keep things but it sure is hard to discard them.

I’m sure all you parents can relate to this: the hardest things to throw-out are our children’s items; especially school work and toys. Those items make us sentimental for those past times and tossing them almost feels like a betrayal. We want to simplify our lives by eliminating those things that cause clutter. Yet, in the course of purging we don’t want to let go. We have an emotional attachment to our stuff.

In my case I had a couple of totes that contained my oldest son’s early school work. His mother had saved almost everything: drawings, homework, etc. A few weeks ago I asked my son, who is now 29 years old, what I should do with his things. He told me to get rid of them. He said that he would only horde them if I gave them to him and that his mother had already dumped other things on him. So when it got to the point of cleaning-out his totes it was not an easy task, but I did it. Now all of the items of his past that I have in my possession nicely fit into one tote. (I have to admit, I did not toss everything. There are just some things one cannot toss, right?)

This tossing and purging and sentimentality reminded me of The Rich Man in Mark 10:17-22. The man was eager to join Jesus but he was not willing to let go of his possessions. In fact the gospel tells us that he went away sad. We have to “let go” if we truly want to follow Jesus. We have to eliminate the clutter and the emotional attachments that may be bogging us down and preventing us from simplifying our lives to follow Him earnestly.

This Easter season, this spring, is a good time to start purging all the clutter from the totes of our lives. It is ok to look back and remember with sentimentality the experiences of our pasts while tossing. But try to reflect on how all those times and experiences, good and bad, can be used to help us bring ourselves and others closer to Christ.

Copyright 2016, Michael T Carrillo


About Author

Michael Carrillo is a retired police officer from a large California metropolitan police department. He is married to Vicki and they have five adult children between them. He is an unabashed fan of Jesuit education, though he regrets not obtaining one himself. Day hikes and walks give him opportunities and inspirations to look for and find God.

1 Comment

  1. Yes! to all of this! Though I am just slightly disappointed that the picture wasn’t of your own garage 😉

    My mother was of a mind about keeping things simple and clutter-free, which drove me nuts in my messy-teenager days, though I see the happiness in simplicity now. My husband’s family, however, grew up in the depression and consequently they hold onto EVERYTHING. It’s quite the tornado in our house, and every time I pack up a bag to donate, a child finds their way into it and it’s empty again.

    But yes, keeping perspective on attachments in regards to our relationship with God, whether too little or too much, is definitely the most important thing. Great article!

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