I took a big microwave to the thrift store today. The microwave had been sitting on the counter in my “weird room” (we call it that because it was an illogical addition to the house, too big to be a mudroom, too small and disjointed to be part of the kitchen) for close to two years. It took up a full half of the counter, and since there’s no way to make a half-counter-full of ugly old microwave look presentable anyway, I had filled up the other half with other assorted random stuff. That pretty much made the countertop unusable. Since the countertop on one side of the room looked messy, it didn’t bother me all that much that the one on the other was also frequently unorganized. Since the countertops were a mess, the room started to take on the feel of a junk room, where it was not uncommon, during particularly busy days, to leave grocery bags, still filled with canned goods, at the foot of the cabinet in which they belonged. As you know, clutter attracts clutter.
The crowning jewel of the weird room has been an assortment of things which we either could find no place for, or did not make time to put in their rightful places: cardboard for recycling, paint cans, shoes, outerwear, a folding chair, last year’s Christmas lights. Mind you, it’s not a big room. And since it is the main artery between the garage and the rest of the house, its overstuffed state was leading me toward a serious attack of frustration.
So today, I made the decision that the ten bucks I might make on the microwave on Craig’s list was not worth the process of selling the item and its countertop friends. So I called the thrift shop, found out they would take the monster, and drove it over there. The action itself, two years in the making, took about a half hour.
I am not proud to admit that there are many microwaves in my life. Little by little, I am beginning to try and weed out these preventable annoyances. After eliminating one, I always think to myself, “Why the heck didn’t I do that sooner?!”
Are you ready for the spiritual analogy? What gets in the way of our spiritual progress more than anything, causing us to stumble and trip, or in some cases completely blocks our path to God? Sin, of course. Our souls sometimes look a lot like my weird room. Once we’ve permitted a big microwave of a sin to get comfy, other offenses don’t seem so bad. The longer we leave things that way, the easier it gets to let ‘em pile up. Soon the place is a mess and we get to be at peace with it. No one’s house is perfect, right?
The kicker is that for us, it really couldn’t be easier to clean up our souls. Before Jesus came, the Israelites offered animal sacrifices, and made long, dangerous pilgrimages in order to atone for sin. Even in the early Church, there was limited access to the sacrament of Reconciliation. But us? We have only to drive to the nearest church (for me, it’s a mile away) during one of the six times in a week the sacrament is offered, and simply confess our sins with a contrite heart, then do the small penance given us. So, why don’t we do it more often?
Sure, having God clean our spiritual houses does not guarantee that they will not get messy again. In fact, let’s be honest: we know they will. But, if I knew that I only had to go down the street for ten minutes, or even a half hour, and my house would be clean again, I would go every week! And the fact of the matter is, that the cleaner we keep things, the more we notice dirt. By cleaning up often, we slowly become cleaner people. So it is with God. The more we go to confession, the more grace we get to notice our sin and to stop sinning as much.
If you are like me, you are now knee-deep in “resolution season”, in which America essentially tries for a few weeks to get organized and eat healthy. Let’s not leave our souls out of the fun.
Copyright 2010 Libby DuPont