I should have known that overcoming overthinking, overdoing, over-collecting would be a lifelong spiritual journey struggle–the seeds, the symptoms were clearly visible.. Perhaps the most salient metaphor:
Freshman algebra: I failed the first test because I neglected to simplify.
I knew I was “supposed” to simplify, but I just didn’t feel comfortable doing it. Reducing, minimizing, lessening. No. The answers were correct, full, in tact just they way they were.
My teacher didn’t agree. Forty was my reward (or penalty). …She did commiserate. I learned my lesson in algebra…but somehow it never transferred to “real life.”
(That always is the teenage objection , isn’t it–that school–e.g. that algebra– isn’t relevant to real life. Here was a case in point wherein it was totally relevant, I’m the one who failed to apply the lesson.)
One of the reasons I like Twitter is that it forces me to simplify messages. I like the challenge, but still, given my druthers, I’m afraid I prefer to prattle on, even in prayer, in total disregard of the Lord’s advice.
Speaking of the Lord’s advice, too, to travel light, when I think of various religious communities which restrict their members to having just one bag of personal possessions to take with them on a transfer, I feel frightened at the specter of being so limited in possessions (especially books), but then I realize that there is something liberating about traveling light, a metaphor so often used for leaving the past behind. It’s liberating to be healthily (holy) detached!
The older I get, the more mindful I am of the necessity of simplifying my material possessions. Having witnessed both my parents, who died at home, being taken to the funeral homes devoid of any possessions except the clothes they were wearing at the time of their deaths, I am convinced that simplifying is a grace and a responsibility.
Inasmuch as today is St. Patrick’s Day, I think about the way he and other missionaries down to today found ways to simplify the Faith, as they introduced it, connecting it to the listeners’ culture and familiar ways–ergo the shamrock/Blessed Trinity lesson. (Simple isn’t necessarily simplistic.)
First the joy of St. Patrick’s Day, and then the poignancy of Holy Week. As we approach the Good Friday, there is a clarion call, I think, to recognize the meaning of life, simplifying it to make it worthy of the One Who suffered and died for us to fully live.
Meanwhile, on this day that celebrates the wearing of the green, I think I’ll honor green: recycle, reduce, reuse, and simplify my life–at least a few of my material possessions–at least a bit, in honor of my Irish heritage.
What about you? God bless you! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!