Traveling Light

post date: January 9, 2009

This week we’ve been doing some major housecleaning that started when we decided it was time to get things organized. In our particular situation, there is really no demarcation between our home and the ministry because, as I like to tell people, the “world headquarters” of Keep Believing Ministries is in my office at home and in our guest bedroom. When I get up in the morning and “go to the office,” I walk from my bedroom through the kitchen to the room facing the street in the corner of our house.

There I find my laptop, two bookcases, a long desk with drawers stuffed with sermon notes, medical files, legal documents, financial records, birthday cards, assorted electronic flotsam and jetsam, misplaced reminders, 3x5 cards, plus a jumbled drawer with things like a stapler, keys that don’t open anything, a translucent blue paperweight, batteries that fit nothing I own, a Phillips-head screwdriver, a scrap of paper with phone numbers, a business card that says “Marty Beckner,” a well-worn manual for my bike odometer, a nail file from the Hair Cuttery, a little stone that says “He who is without sin among you let him cast the first stone,” those plastic dealies that let you label hanging files, a list of names for our Sunday School class, a throat lozenge, and a wi-fi card for my portable printer that never worked. I also have a shot glass from the Vatican, a gift from my brother Andy. 

In the closet we have books, tapes, CDs, CD sleeves and covers, Chinese scrolls, a shredder, a can of paint (not sure why), boxes of stationery, foreign-language translations, wrist bands, refrigerator magnets, plus a lot of other KBM paraphernalia. And that’s just my office. In the guestroom we have a big work station plus another closet filled with stuff plus we have more stuff in our bedroom. And then there’s our garage.

It really all goes back to Oak Park, some of it anyway, because when we moved, we just packed up the way everyone does. And you say to yourself, “Someday we’re going to get this organized.” Well, for us that day has come.

So all week long we’ve been rummaging and sorting. At first you dread it, then it gets worse, then slowly it gets better. And here’s something we discovered. The more we throw away, the better we feel. We’re definitely into the “de-accumulation” phase of life. So we’ve carted out bag after bag of stuff to the trash. I’ve thrown away a huge stack of notes plus a big stack of CDs plus a lot of that electronic stuff that just cluttered up my office. 

As of tonight we’ve made our way through my office, the other office, and now Marlene is working her way through our bedroom. In place of the clutter in my closet, we now have neat rows of plastic containers, and we purchased two two-drawer filing cabinets for the other closet. The final frontier will be those boxes in the garage. We are determined not to stop until we have gone through everything and thrown away everything we don’t need. 

In the process we’re asking ourselves, “Why did we think we needed that anyway?” Perhaps we really did need it a few years ago, but if we don’t need it now, why keep it? Maybe it’s a sign of our life stage, but I’m happier living in a smaller house, with fewer things to worry about, with the things I really need at my fingertips. 

So if you wonder what we’re doing in Tupelo these days, we’re getting organized and streamlined. We’re learning again what we don’t need and what we can do without. 

Traveling light. That’s our theme this week. I’m feeling better already. 

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Ray Pritchard
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