Last August I finished emptying our living spaces and internal storage areas to disperse most of the things my husband’s first wife left behind — things that we won’t use — when she died. Although two externally accessible storage areas and the garage remain to be cleared out, autumn approached and our battles against entropy moved in new directions.
We had our rusted out gutters and downspouts removed and replaced — certainly a decluttering of sorts — and contracted with a house painter, who should be finishing the last strokes on a beautiful restoration of the exterior of our home in the next few days.
After a year of retirement, I returned, part time, to my old career.
And — having established a trade relationship with Yesterday’s Books, we even began re-evaluating and clearing out a few of our own things.
But more and more and more, as the habit of discarding more than we allow to enter the house takes hold, I learn that the heart of the matter does not lie in the act of clearing and decluttering our home.
The parable says:
“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. …”
The key, I’ve decided, is that the impure spirit returns to find “the house unoccupied. ”
The heart of the matter is that by the time that impure spirit returns, the homeowner ought to have taken possession of that clean swept home and filled it with good and wholesome life.
So… With what shall we fill our decluttered homes? How shall we fill our lives and our hearts with good things so no room is left for clutter to sift in again?