Feb 20 2013

“Sheddin’ Time” Part 2

_CES0539In my last post I talked about “sheddin’ time.”  I made some comparisons between deer shedding their antlers this time of year and the season of Lent when we, too, are beckoned to shed some things.  In Sunday’s entry I suggested that Lent is a great time to look inward and discover what bad habits or sins there may be that need to be shed.  The day after I wrote that blog I talked to my co-writer, Rob Sheppard, on the phone and he mentioned that for many of us there is also a need to shed some of our possessions.  I realize that this is not likely to be a popular topic but it does deserve some attention.

_CES6082I suspect that the vast majority of us have far more possessions than we really need.   Some people, like me, cannot park in their garages because they are filled with so much junk.  Others have to build sheds or rent storage bins to store all their extra possessions.  The clutter can be overwhelming and at times even sinful.  Do I really need ten jackets?  Certainly not when there are people in the community who have none.  Do I really need 17,000 books?  I say “yes” but Rob says “no” and as much as I hate to admit it, Rob is probably right.  In fact, I actually do have so many books that I’ve been known to purchase books I have, forgetting I already own them.  Not good!

Henry David Thoreau once gave this wonderful advice: “Simplify, simplify, simplify.”   If we could follow this advice each of our lives would be richer and less complicated.  Jesus, knowing all too well our tendency to collect more than we need, once said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (Matthew 6:19-20)  I shudder to think just exactly what he would say today to those of us who have invested ourselves so heavily into the material world.

bison-and-calfOur unbridled consumerism has taken a toll not only on our souls but also upon the environment.  Natural resources have been used up unnecessarily.  It is becoming harder and harder to find space for landfills to deposit all the extra stuff we discard.  Excessive consumerism likewise contributes to the pollution of the air and our waterways.  In the end there is a far greater cost to our purchases than most of us imagine.

So, yes, once again, perhaps we ought to view the season of Lent as “sheddin’ time.”  In these weeks leading up to Easter maybe we could all take a closer look at what we have and see if there are some things we can shed and give away.  This form of recycling could actually benefit many who are in need, while at the same time giving us more freedom from “stuff.”

If you are interested in exploring a number of different ways you can simplify your life, I’d encourage you to check out Nancy Sleeth’s newest book, Almost Amish.  I think you would find it helpful.  Good luck in the adventure and please wish me the same!

–Chuck

(I took the top image at Acadia National Park in Maine; the middle image at my home in Pikeville, KY; and the bottom image in South Dakota.)