Thursday, December 16, 2004

Maggi Dawn's comments today are right on target, as usual. She writes about the difficulties of the Christmas season. If you don't read the Rev. Dr. Dawn, add her to your blog read list. You can find her at It's odd how important some people are to my daily journey but I cannot invite them to dinner, chat with them on the phone or go see a movie with them. I feel as if I know Maggi from reading her blog although the "relationship" is one-sided. She offers, I take and I cannot return the gift. The blogsphere connects us but isn't always reciprocal. I read her but seldom, if ever, comment. I am so thankful that she takes the time to write her blog. She makes a difference in my life. I commend her to you.

Today I should finish my weeks long "heave out" of my house. Not only am I preparing for Christmas guests, I am trying a new thing for me. I collect stuff with great relish. I like digging through other people's stuff at tag sales, church rummage sales, garage sales and estate sales. I have been known to stop and examine curbside piles and found a great rug for my study once while my passenger was hollering, "YOU AREN'T GOING TO DIG THROUGH GARBAGE WITH ME IN THE CAR!" It happens. People toss out usable things all the time. I've furnished my home with stuff I've bought on the cheap or found. I've given stuff to my pals who asked for it. I clothe myself and my children with .25 stuff. And, we look ok although the "looking like a bag lady" comment of my younger sister's oldest sister haunts me.

About two months ago, in a Church School class, the teacher was discussing how the woman washing Jesus' feet with her tears and drying his feet with her hair was an outlandish gesture. I began to speculate on what kind of over the top actions we in the class could take on. The woman who annointed Jesus' feet with expensive perfume was so deeply grateful for Him that she put aside convention and reticence to show her love for Him. What could we do which would be similar?

I am not suggesting that what I am going to tell you is on the same level as what she did. However, as my mind worked around outlandish gestures, I asked myself, "what would it be like for you to give away a majority of the stuff you have?" Frightening thought for me since I like surrounding myself with things. 8 complete sets of dishes, too many pots and pans, stuff-stuff-stuff. I began to pray about this idea of simply giving the things away. We have several charity shops here which need to make money (Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries). I didn't want to sell the things, just give them away. Now, for those of you who aren't following my train of thought (and you will be legion) the issue of giving things away is a trust issue. Do I trust the Lord to provide for me if I give my things away?

I think trusting God is my biggest issue of faith. I work on this all the time. Pray about it, think about it and make myself practice trusting God even though the act goes against my willfulness.

I began to borrow the LH's larger car and load the car to the brim with stuff. I would take and area of our home, go through the stuff and make piles to give away. After I carted the stuff to the charity shop, I would return and do the same area again. Before you think I was just "cleaning up" remember that I can tolerate owning fourteen mixing bowls very well. I took the stuff as soon as I could get it out of the house. No looking back. The first four heaves made me anxious. I decided to push on until it felt like nothing special to give away stuff I like and felt I needed. I kept going. If my mind wandered to such interior whining as why would poor people need Le Cruset cookware, china and crystal, I told myself to "hush". Why not have those things for anyone? Why not have a great big pot for cooking? Give it away.

And so, the Salvation Army and the Goodwill staff know me by name. They look amazed that I am driving up with even more stuff to give, week after week.

How do I feel? What difference does how I feel make? I feel as though I am practicing trust which feels as awkward to me as it always does.

The best I ever felt about trusting God was when I had to hour-by-hour mentally hold Jesus' hand during a horrifically bad time for my family. I told God that I had no imagination, no prediction about how our horror would be resolved but that like Jacob I was going to hold on to His hand until He blessed me. I was not going to let go even if holding on made no sense whatsoever. I held on, by God's grace and was blessed.

That's all for now. One more area to heave waits for me.


Anonymous said...

Pup here,
You gave away LE CRUSET! I'm hyper-ventilating. I who HATE to go garage-"sailing" (even tho am married to one who does) have as my lone yard sale purchase a set of Le Cruset for $10. I saw ONE of the items a few months later in a very up-scale kitchen store for $250. I absolutely love them. They're as good as non-stick cookware.

Your essay is inspiring and I commend your de-cluttering efforts! (But think you went a bit far with the chucking of the L.C.) ;-)

Anonymous said...

I love this! It really is a spiritual discipline, letting go of things we're sure we'll need next week. Hooray for you.
And, hey, this posting as anonymous is easy ... but not to remain anonymous ...

Laura J.

maggi said...

Hi June - found you on my sitemeter.. thanks for the lovely words, which did me a power of good! And for the inspiration on de-cluttering - one of my own annual pre-Christmas disciplines, which is due to be tackled next Monday when term finishes! (I can't believe you gave away the Le Creuset either! but certain that somebody else will be eternally grateful for it.)

St. Casserole said...

Thanks for your comments!
Maggi, I am spoofing when I call myself "Rev. June Cleaver." June Cleaver was the mother on a television sitcom years ago, "Leave it to Beaver."
The show revolved around the younger of two sons who was very cute. June C. looked perfect in shirt waist dresses and vaccummed in wearing pearls. I live an ordinary life as a wife and mom but am a preacher, too. I don't wear pearls when I vaccuum. I should remember to do that next time I pull out the Hoover....

Anonymous said...

Odette to Winter Cleaning

As I like clean lines and organization
(not excessive, just some discipline
to the chaos, some ordered chaos, if you please)and with my continuing love and admiration
of my loving wife, thank you for trusting God in
tossing all detritus before the winter freeze.
The LH

maggi said...

I don't spoof as Rev'd Dr Dawn - that's really my name! But I always address people by their blog-titles (Harrassed, Prodigal, Bobbie, and now June). "s" sounds to impersonal somehow.

But, pearls or no pearls I cannot preach to someone who does her own hoovering as I pay someone to do mine for me (bad mother!)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, the Odette's lines got
jumbled. The LH

St. Casserole said...

Maggi, call me anything! June will do!
LH, many thanks for your kind comments. Ordered chaos is what it's all about.
Finally, it's vacuum. Not the various ways I spelled it in the post. VACUUM. What an odd word!
(Note to Maggi: I have help with my hoovering, too)but let's keep this to ourselves.