Bank Holiday weekends are a really good opportunity to have a clear-out, so we have been taking full advantage of the May Bank Holidays!
A few weeks ago we went through our garage and got rid of a massive amount. Nearly all the garden tools went to our local Community Garden (leaving just a few for our future tenants), lots of DIY tools went to friends and the Church’s Shedless Men DIY project (DIY is definitely not Chris’s thing…). And a whole heap more went to the local tip (sorry, Waste Transfer Station).
Oooo, that was nice! Empty shelves, empty cupboards, worktops not stacked high with stuff.
And the kitchen. I’m constantly amazed how many jars and tins and packets I can find with a best-before or use-by date of between one and ten years ago! More empty shelves… And a resolution: if I’m not 100% sure we’re going to eat it, I’m not buying it any more!
This past weekend we tackled the loft. After we got married and I moved into Joanna’s flat, we had to get my little terraced house ready to sell. Which meant clearing out the loft. Joanna learnt some important things about me at that time, one of which is that I inherited from my parents a tendency to squirrel things away, “just in case…” My Dad built a mezzanine layer in our garage for those “just in case” things. I put mine in the loft. Joanna couldn’t believe her eyes: four, yes four, old vacuum cleaners, in their boxes, none of them working. Piles and piles and piles of magazines. And much, much more. The heap of stuff outside the house to be disposed of was so high it completely obscured the front windows.
Never again, I vowed. Ahem. So, Saturday saw us ploughing through our loft and wondering why on earth we ever kept this and that, and that of all things! The pile wasn’t as big this time, but it was big enough. Joanna has made a trip to the local Charity Shop today and has a visit to the tip scheduled for tomorrow.
Oh, and various bushes and trees in the garden have had their ambitions seriously scaled back (we don’t have a big garden at all, but if you leave a bush for long enough it becomes a tree!).
It feels good to have cleared out. Really good. There are still more cupboards and drawers to go, but we’re making good progress.
It gives us a real feeling of preparing for a new phase, a new adventure. Clearing the decks, moving on from the past. That was then, but this is now.
Which brings me to a favourite worship song, written by Luc Dumont, but here sung by a young lady whose name I don’t know. It’s called J’irai, I will go…
Here are the words of the chorus, in the original French and then a rough English translation:
Donne-moi le courage
De quitter mon rivage
Et de marcher sur tes eaux
Le courage d’être libre
Et d’oublier le passé
Le déposer à tes pieds
À tes pieds
Give me the courage
To leave behind my shore
And to walk upon your waters
The courage to be free
And to forget the past
To put it down at your feet
At your feet
It takes courage to launch out into the new, the challenging, the exciting but also scary. Courage I can only find in Jesus.
It takes courage to leave the past behind, to forget it, to leave it very specifically at Jesus’ feet. Courage I can only find in Jesus.
In both cases, it really is worth it. There are many things in my life I have got wrong, sometimes spectacularly wrong. People I’ve hurt, especially Jesus. But I can leave it all at Jesus’ feet and move on.
For me, clearing out the garage, the loft, the garden, my warehouse, is very symbolic. The past is done, the mistakes are forgiven, the failures too. It’s time to be FREE!