Soul Clutter

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By Dave

 

I had one project this summer,

Only one mind you,

But it was a doozy.

 

The job was to clean the house.

And no, I don’t mean clean

Like sort the mail or do the dishes

Or find a place for that box of childhood memorabilia.

 

The kind of cleaning I’m talking about

Is a deep, thorough, down to the roots,

Touch absolutely everything you own,

And determine whether you need it,

Someone else can have it

Or the trash truck gets to devour it the following Tuesday

Kind of cleaning.

 

It’s the kind of work you put off until next summer

And the one after that and the one after that.

Because it’s the kind of work no one really wants to do.

 

Who wants to go through every single thing they own,

Weigh it in the balance of need versus want

Versus guilt because you spent good money

On something you haven’t used since who can remember when?

 

Box after box, bin after bin,

Is consigned to a trip

To the local charity giveaway store.

 

You fill your car’s trunk a dozen times

But it’s still not enough,

Not enough to shed years of detritus,

Items that have outlived their usefulness

But are still protected by the self-delusion

That they must be saved at all costs,

Including your sanity.

 

But when the work is done,

And the rooms are clean

And everything, every single thing

Has a home of its own,

Then the work,

Both mental and physical,

Will have been worth it.

 

While this is true for the clutter in your home,

It also is true for the clutter in your soul,

The things that cling to you like barnacles to a boat.

 

Worries, fear, insecurities—

These all fill the rooms of your innermost being,

Crowding out and covering over

The good and precious parts of your true self.

 

We hold on to them out of obligation, out of guilt,

Out of the habit that tells us we absolutely must do so

Because we deserve no better.

 

The poetic charge of Thomas Jefferson

Compels us to pursue happiness,

But we assume that command is for ones far more deserving.

 

For us, the simple ones who live ordinary lives,

We trudge on from task to task, from sleep to sleep.

Doing what comes next without thinking about

What should come next.

 

What would it look like

If our souls were as clutter free

As the homes we have chosen to clean?

 

Would we find the Joy that went missing

When the Drive and Purpose were given up for lost?

 

The outer affects the inner

As does the inner impact the outer,

An infinite loop of possibility or perdition.

 

So, clean up. Clean up, I say.

Inside and out, make it all clean.

Declare war on clutter, as it has declared war on you.

 

And, when you get buried

Under literal and figurative piles

Of debris and remnants of the past,

Remember these words,

Chanted by So Cal sports fans for years:

“Fight On!”

Not Quite the Perfect Number

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By Dave

Like many guys I suppose, I love a good message T-shirt. Whether it is showing my love of a particular TV show, a place I have travelled to, a college I attended (I went to several) or support for the high school where I work (and because the latter are often free, I am happy to take one), I rarely pass by a cool tee without checking for one in my size.

This led to my collection of 42 message T-shirts (If you are a fan of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you probably are geeking out right now). I knew I had “a bunch,” but had no clue how many that was.

The problem was that all of them had a special memory connected to them. Perhaps they were not worth the $15-$20 or so I paid for each (sans the free ones, of course), but they were important to me at one time for one reason or another.

But I had to come to terms with the fact that they were not all important enough to keep, particularly since many of them were fading, chipping or pilling. I could keep the memory of the shirt without the actual shirt, so into the trash or Goodwill bag they went.

Shirt after shirt, memory after memory, was gently retired.

In the end, 20 shirts remained. Besides the fact I normally wear collared shirts to work, I realized a very important fact: I am an adult and probably should dress like one. While fun, I don’t need clothing of my past when they don’t reflect my future.

And the extra closet space is a nice, added bonus.