The first two or three days of the October holiday have been clearing out days. I took a black bin liner into the wardrobe and I filled it!
There are one or two things that probably ought to be in the bin liner but I talked myself into a stay of execution! I can’t imagine that I will ever wear them again but, they have memories attached.
There is a black flowery top and skirt of obscene smallness of waist that I wore to my engagement party. For a long time I entertained ideas of slimming down – but even though I am slimming down, the outfit is not your classic style that never dates. It has shoulder pads, Dynasty style.
There is also a kind of terracotta suit that I wore for my going away outfit after the wedding. The skirt part of it is pleated and quite short – those were the days when my legs were more shapely than they are now, no doubt. Yet again I can’t picture myself wearing it, but I am loathe to get rid of it.
There is a black T-shirt with Paris emblazoned across the front. We were there for my fortieth birthday and I actually may wear it one day. It is a weight loss goal that is achievable and the t-shirt is less liable to date.
Another T-shirt, a red one this time, marks an achievement in a health and fitness club – my attendance at 35 tummy tucking sessions! I am reminded that I was that disciplined once upon a time, that I took exercise seriously.
A jumper that I knitted didn’t make the path back to the wardrobe. (The black bin liner is still in the spare room, so a pardon is still possible!) It reminds me that I used to knit, once upon a time and I wore what I knitted with pride! I had one particular pattern that I used over and over again and adapted.
I confess to being a hoarder. As I have mentioned before I am one of those people who collect the plastic toys from Christmas crackers “just in case” they turn out to be useful! I have held on to clothes “just in case” I slim down sufficiently to be able to wear them.
I hold on to letters and notebooks that I never read “just in case” I want to walk down memory lane.
It all takes space up though. Put all the stuff in a box and you have to put the box somewhere. If that space is filled with boxes, then there is less space to put things that are currently in use!
If my physical life is full of stuff that I no longer need or use, or will ever need or use again – does the same apply to my spiritual life? Are there doctrines that are out of date, or revelation that his been superseded by something new? Am I resolutely hanging on to things, knowledge that I think might be useful one day when it clearly won't ever be?
Does theology become outdated? Do the things I believed twenty or thirty years ago actually have a “best before” date attached?
I find myself unwilling to take the black bin liner into my heart and fill it. There are no things in there that I don’t use. There is a verse somewhere in the gospels that talks of the wise man taking new and old treasure out of the store house.
I guess it takes real discernment to know what to let go of and what to hold on to.