When lockdown first began, and much of daily life ground to a halt, there was an optimistic thought that now would be an opportunity for a grand spring-clean. It never happened, of course, but there have been a few, albeit limited, sort-outs on the way. This week, in hopeful expectation that summer will stay for a while, the summer clothes were unpacked. Packages that have not seen the light of day for many months were opened; contents spread out and sorted. Then, to make way for summer, winter-wear was tidied away.
A good sort-out can be revealing. From summer t-shirts to winter woollies; when I lay things out it is surprising how much stuff has accumulated. Even more surprising is how little I regularly use. For all that stuff in the cupboard; I always seem to return to the same few favourites. The rest gathers dust; silent testimony to past plans, life once lived, future hopes or just in case. Some, quite simply, no longer fit. Carefully I restock the shelves, knowing that much of it will not see the light of day again until the next tidy up. How much effort do I put into caring for stuff I’ll never use?
Frantically busy, boringly quiet, or somewhere in between; for more than a year so much of life has been on hold; gathering dust in the back of life’s wardrobe. Now, with restrictions slowly lifting and summer finally here, we are tentatively reopening life’s store. Can this take us back to the normal we left behind, and even if it can, is it the path to tread? As we open the dusty corners of life I am sure we will find some old familiar favourites; ready to serve us comfortably once more. But can we resist the temptation to clog up life with stuff we’ll never use again? Who knows, if we do, we may even make way for something new.
Rev Philip Payne
The Pew Sheet for 13 June 21 can be found here