“A time to gain and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to throw away; a time to tear and a time to sew; a time to keep silence and a time to speak.” Eccl 3:6-7
I’ve talked about keeping and throwing away before. And tearing and sewing. But I’ll briefly mention them.
Let’s look at clutter. Clutter is anything with no obvious or immediate use that lies around taking up space. The trouble with clutter is that it takes up good storage space. And when we get new thing we have no where to put them and they become more clutter. Kind of a cycle. Clutter often represents old dreams. That tool we’ve always wanted to use; that dish we’ve always wanted to try; that place we’ve always wanted to go; that book we’ve always meant to read. The sheer accumulation of stuff is exhausting, till one doesn’t even want to think about it. Well, then it’s time to decide what you will keep and what needs to be thrown away. I’m naturally a pack rat, so it’s a challenge to throw away anything I ever might use. But one just has to bear down on it after procrastinating for too long. Dreams are great, aired out and re-examined as Anne of Avonlea said.
Of course, tearing out old threads and sewing things back up applies to any range of things.
But on the note of keeping let me turn to another subject–our thought lives.
I think a writer has a unique perspective on thought. Because, at least in my case; we leave our thought everywhere. Put on paper, my thoughts can get carried all over my house, left on furniture or on the kitchen counter. In my room it often looks like a tornado met a stack of paper. This, however, means my thoughts are disorganized. It’s quite a poignant metaphor for actual thinking. If our minds were a house, our thoughts would often be all over the place, and in the wrong place. Important ones might be on the floor, why secondary lists of things would be on the wall. I need better organization. Often the trouble is we don’t take the time to organize; at other times there is just no place to put stuff.
When organizing my papers, I find old ideas I don’t need anymore, plans I can’t carry out, and even nasty blowing-off-steam writings that I just threw out. Making more room for important stuff. I’ll find old dream and goal lists. I’ll find gifts from other people or I’ll find stories I wrote that I can improve upon.
If we just took a few minutes a day to examine our own thoughts in the same way, we’d be surprised at the trash–and treasure–we would find. Hint: The best way is to catch a thought as it comes and either think it through or discard it immediately. Purposely.
And readers, the time to speak is coming; or perhaps it is at hand now. I am tired of silence. Not pure silence. Peaceful silence. No I want that. I am tired of scared, or guilty, silence. The silence of people who have been thoroughly cowed. It is time to shut up about what we want and what bothers us; and instead speak about what we need and what is wrong and must be stopped.