Spring Cleaning (Again!)

Last year, around this time of the year, I wrote a post called “Archaeology of my Life” in which I went through this one box full of brown manila envelopes. I found a whole bunch of credit card receipts, more financial documents, old photos from past events, and a very old police report (no, I didn’t go to jail or anything like that).

This year, I’ve decided to tackle something less drastic: the right half of my dresser in my bedroom.

This is somewhat exaggerated because I had to move everything around to see what’s there. Now, when I moved into my house 6 years ago, I found myself with something I have never had before: a master bedroom. Before, I lived in apartments and my parents’ house where I did not have a lot of space to spread out. I did homework, studied for bar exams, and relaxed, all within six feet of my bed. But with a master bedroom and you have plenty of room in the rest of the house, the operative word in the phrase is “bedroom”. Bedroom, as in the place where you sleep, change your clothes, and a safe space away from everything else. So then, why do I have all that stuff there?

Here’s what I found in (see photo):

  1. Old birthday cards from 4 years ago
  2. Old thank you cards from 4 years ago.
  3. An expired AAA membership card.
  4. Cash
  5. Invoices from the gardener (I think).
  6. An invoice from a roofing contractor from 3 years ago.
  7. Medical bills and statements from the insurance company
  8. Postcards from Australia
  9. A brand new compass/ bottle opener key chain
  10. Two USB drives – one brand new, the other in use
  11. A University of Chicago car decal – never used even though I got it 20 years ago. I’m like my dad: I don’t like putting decals on cars, even though I’ve owned the car for 17 years.
  12. Some other stuff which I haven’t quite identified.

The conclusion: I am sentimental pack rat. Except for the bills and invoices, everything there has some emotional value, especially the birthday cards and thank you cards. I’ve shredded and dumped everything but the cash, cards, the USB drives, and the decal.

And as usual, this got me thinking about our own hearts and souls: what are we clinging onto? What are we holding onto that is like my bedroom clutter?

  1. Are we holding onto bitterness? That’s like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. (Pastor Greg Laurie said that in numerous messages.)
  2. Are we holding onto past successes? Yes, holding onto past successes can hold us back. You think you’re reached the top and stay there, never realizing there are more mountains to climb and new things to learn. There’s nothing wrong with remembering the past, but if it keeps you from the future, it becomes a hindrance.
  3. Are we holding onto past failures? Notice I put success first; you would think I would put past failures first. Nope. We all know about failures and need to forgive ourselves and ask for forgiveness. However, success is just as deadly, so I deliberately inverted the order.
  4. Are we holding on to past relationships? An ex- still dragging you down? Even if it wasn’t a romantic relationship, I have plenty of guy and girl friends whom I mourn the loss of that relationship, not because of betrayal necessarily, but of time, distance, and life events.

Because of COVID-19, we’re indoors more often than outdoors so this is a great time to do spring cleaning – physically and metaphysically.

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