Stuff - Scott Dickison
Last year as part of our Lenten discipline, Audrey and I adopted the practice of each getting rid of one thing from our house a day. We also got rid of something for every new item we bought over that time. The hope was that after those 40 days, on Easter Sunday the Dickison household would be (at least) 80 items lighter. Sounds easy enough, right? Well it was…at first.
At about the two and a half week mark we were feeling pretty good. Our closets were not bursting at the seams quite as much as usual, and we could actually see the surface of our dining room table. Those two things alone were making this Lenten experiment a success.
Audrey consented to give away a few nice dresses and even let go of some kitchen utensils we had been meaning to use. I finally sold an old computer that had been collecting dust and managed to throw away a pair of old tennis shoes (for some reason I have a hard time throwing away even the most worn-out pairs of shoes; I’ll let you psychoanalyze).
But after another week or so, the “discipline” part of our Lenten discipline started setting in. Our take on the Lenten fast was revealing more than closet space. It was exposing just how much “stuff” we surround ourselves with and how attached we become to it. More importantly, we began to learn you can only truly hold fast to so many things.
At some point during the fourth or fifth week, when we tied up two large trash bags full of stuff we didn’t need and set them by the door to go out to the car, and began to envision all the other stuff we could easily rid ourselves of, our spring-cleaning became a Lenten fast. It became a fast when we felt the burden of excess begin to lift ever so slightly and realized just how much it had been weighing us down. We were denying ourselves of something we hold dear—stuff—and in our denial we began to see our priorities realign.
Over these past few weeks during our Wednesday night bible study, we’ve been talking about the idea of fasting and it’s possibilities for our spiritual development. And during this time we’ve noted that a fast doesn’t have to do with food, but it does have to do with something important; something it would be difficult to do without.
But more than anything, the Lenten fast has to do with rediscovering the things you cannot do without—the things that are never just “stuff.” As we enter into this second half of Lent, and the cross come more and more into view, may it be these things that you hold fast to on your Lenten journey.