When things are stable it is easy to keep clutter. When you have to pick up everything you own and move 2700 miles away the clutter becomes obvious. Clutter sticks around because in the back of your mind you really don’t do a solid evaluation of whether or not you will actually use something. But when you move what will get used and what won’t become all too obvious. You really don’t feel like moving something you aren’t going to use that far. Who wants to pack the unuseables up, load them in a truck and unpack them on the other side just to not use them somewhere else? Moving makes it easy and obvious to pick what needs to stay and what needs to go.
While that is true of our things it is also true of the time we spend with people. It is possible to “clutter” up your time with people by talking about things that really don’t matter. Once you realize your time with a group of people is limited you have to start making decisions. Who can you catch before you go and what are you going to do when you are with them? Things get real clear, real fast and the priority of having meaningful time with people goes to the top. It is a shame we don’t feel like that every single day of the year, in all our relationships.
One thing I have learned from this move is that the connections we have with people and the time we spend with people needs to get under the surface more. I am not saying that because I lack close friends…I have plenty of close friends. But in this time of transition what I have really wanted from people is to really get to spend some real, honest, time with them talking about what is most important. I have learned that is not something reserved for the serious occasions when you feel like that is what has to happen. We need to spend more time like that when there are no pressing schedules that force our hand into doing it that way because that is what Christian community is about.
Thank you to all my friends who have taken the time to open up to some really great conversations and prayers with me over the last few weeks. It has meant more to me than you know.
I like your clutter analogy. My one, small comment would be to not totally discount the future importance of mindlessly ‘hanging out’ with someone in the present. Retrospectively, some of my fondest memories of people involve spontaneous “Seinfeld moments’.
I understand what you mean by sorting out “clutter” when you move. I remember 1 box that I never unpacked and finally threw it away when making the 7th move from when I first packed it.
Hopefully, you’ll never completely discard your relationships. I’ve done too much of that in my lifetime, but now with facebook, etc. maintaining some contact is much easier than it was in the days of yore.
I wish you well – and hope our paths will cross again after your move to the “left coast.”