It’s That Time Again by Carol Brennan King April 2019
Did you ever notice how many things there are to spring clean? Maybe it’s that Marie Kondo/Konmari thing that’s sparking my thoughts today. Her method for simplifying and organizing your home calls you to hold each thing you own and determine if it brings joy to you. And if it doesn’t, out with it. Now that’s the Readers’ Digest version.
This blog is not about how to do spring cleaning.
Anyway, we have been trying to downsize for a couple of years, and to be honest, I have not done very well for any length of time. Then this morning, I set to it, spring cleaning or down-sizing my book collection.
First I chose a book case that has four shelves, each one ten inches wide. That is my target, to distill hundreds, maybe thousands of inches of books to only 40 inches.
I started with the headboard of my bed and the pile on the nearby dresser. How many of those books are interesting just-reads or gonna-be-read? And the terrifying question: how many could I find in a library and how many would I just read once? I came away with a handful: a new Bible; I Want to Live These Days With You, a devotional distilled from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s works; A Crazy Holy Grace, The Healing Power of Pain and Memory by Frederick Buechner; In The Shelter, Finding a home in the world by Padraig O Tuama, a spiritual autobiography (painfully honest and not for everyone I know); and Circle of Grace by Jan Richardson, a book of blessings in the form of poetry.
I put the Bonhoeffer book on the empty shelf, certain that it will probably be followed up by other Bonhoeffer books. (I am a fan) Bonhoeffer, in his thirties, was hung by Hitler’s machinations one month before Germany surrendered. He died because he remained true to his calling as a believer and a pastor, shepherding even through his writing, to the end.
Oh, I know there are believers who have issues with Bonhoeffer, but I believe God has given us discernment to use. And I am constantly challenged by this man who chose to minister among his fellow Germans even when given an opportunity to live safely in the US.
Isn’t it kind of cool, that as a prisoner of the reich, Bonhoeffer still had the ability and means to write his message that continues to resonate with believers, kind of like someone else we know. His name is Paul, another writer who died a prisoner of another regime who killed those who chose their faith over freedom. These men and others like them continue to have an impact through their written work, centuries for one, and decades for another, after their deaths.
Anyway, lots of decisions to make as we “downsize,” and maybe I will tell you, in the future, of some other books or things that make the cut. Oh, and these books do bring me joy!