There comes a magical moment of time and space during
everyone’s most people’s many people’s weekends when the laundry is finished, the emails are checked, the house (and the amazing amount of stuff inside of it) is clean… and there’s a sudden feeling of tranquility and silence. The brain quickly rushes to decode this unusual non-activity and calculates that, in fact, there is nothing else to be done.
What a fresh, clear state of mind! In moments like these, I can hear my heart exclaim, I can do what I really wanted to do in the first place, before all these chores and errands! Frantically searching my mind, I giddily come up with a bucket list for the rest of my free time:
1. Read daily devotion and reflect on its meaning
2. Go for a 3 mile run
3. Invite a friend over for a healthy dinner– have a deep conversation about life/spirituality that connects and grows our relationship
And then I enjoy the rest of my weekend undisturbed.
That is, until the garden hose breaks, the dog starts whining, I have a hankering for a chocolate banana smoothie, the dishes somehow pile up on the dated kitchen counters, I start brainstorming about new backsplash options and decide to drive my zoom-zoom Mazda to Lowe’s, the car makes an odd sound on the highway back home, we go to Wal-Mart to figure out the situation because all other auto places are closed on a Sunday… and you all know what happens when Wal-Mart is mentioned. Time is wasted, wives are flustered, and I have no time to have a friend over for dinner, let alone MAKE dinner. So Papa Murphy’s wins the quick meal contest and I’m staring at the gigantic plastic-like tray and cellophane left over from dinner carnage, disappointed in myself for giving in to one-time-use plastic. Not to mention all the time I was supposed to be embracing my newfound “free time.”
So what is happening? Do I really need more hours in the day, as my husband (a band teacher) regularly asserts? Or do I need to reconfigure each day more deliberately?
A verse pops up in my mind. Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.” Luke 9:23 – 24
Another version of verse 23: He said to all of them, “Those who want to come with me must say no to the things they want, pick up their crosses every day, and follow me.”
What am I saying yes to that is merely white noise when it comes to really LIVING my life? Rummaging through 30 shirts in the morning to eventually figure out my attire for the day. Spending an hour or more browsing etsy.com. Grumbling. Checking Facebook on my phone when someone “likes” a comment I made on a distant friend’s post. Half of a Saturday spent washing 5 loads of laundry; most of which are clothes worn for less than a couple hours. Coveting others’ kitchens on hgtv.com when I could be out for a walk and enjoying nature. How many HOURS do we waste? And how do we readdress our habits to fit a more meaningful existence?
That’s when I discovered minimalism. Cue: The Minimalists. Best friends who are actively embarking on a quest to find the most meaningful life through ridding themselves of clutter and items they thought were needed, but which turned out to be nothing more than idols and distractions. These guys have let go of high salaries (and with it; non-stop stress and the constant need for more possessions) in favor of a simplified life spent authoring fiction and non-fiction books, blogging, touring, and connecting with people who struggle to find meaning in their lives.
Everyone wants to live a meaningful existence. Unfortunately we get so bogged down with distractions that we lose sight–and HOPE– of grasping and embracing the person we are meant to be. But if you are still reading this, you know there is abundant life in a meadow not far away. All we have to do is kick out all the crap that covers the path, and run towards our new, less-cluttered, minimally distracting and fulfilling life.
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