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We’re all inclined to stash: the catch-all drawer in the study; the jammed shelves in the front hall closet; the rusting bikes and tools in the garage; the dusky trunks in the attic; the bulging sacks in the basement; the faded shed in the backyard; the discolored boxes stashed in the annex; the stacks of recipes from House and Garden magazines bundled in the kitchen cupboards.

What compels us to hoard stuff we think we’ll use someday, especially when that “someday” rarely arrives?

A similar clutter can also occur in our psyches vacuuming social media for titillation, engorging the latest scandal from The Hill or undigested trivia, staring down our neighbor’s excesses—even Broadway productions of festering resentments.

And then we wonder why we seek medical or psychiatric attention: pills to fix us, an injection to mellow us, or even surgery to cut out the disorder.

Can it be about mindlessness?

There is a response to this disorder offered by a wise friend: “If in doubt, out!”




It is dusk, unseasonably warm. Cars inch toward the stoplight on the slick pavement. Ahead, what appears to be a blue stocking cap bobbing atop a motorized wheelchair rivets my attention. Again, the traffic advances three car lengths, and whatever it was slips out of sight–only the empty intersection at Arsenal and Hampton Streets. I wait. Once again, the traffic light changes.

A fleeting glimpse tells it all: bulging sacks hang from the back and sides of the motorized wheelchair, even sandwich the diminutive rider with the blue cap, her hand poised on the controls.

Her circumstances evoke questions: Will she maneuver across Hampton Street without being struck by another motorist? Where had she come from and where was she going? Why the sacks obscuring her chair? Do they contain all her earthly belongings? How did she loose her mobility? Does anyone look in on her? Yet her spirit sallying forth, alone, does speak.

Still more questions prick my awareness: What about the baggage I carry in my psyche–the fears, the resentments, the disappointments, the unresolved issues? How do they hobble my mobility? Impede deeper engagement in life? How discard such stuff and breathe? Stretch tall beneath the sunshine?

It’s all about conversion of heart and for that I need help, daily.



In silence, shrouded in shadows, we crouch, elbow to elbow, waiting. At the end of our resources, we long for someone to trim our wicks and refire our lanterns. A people without vision—we have lost our way.

Such, too, was the longing of the anawim (the Hebrew word for those who are bowed down), the lowly ones in first-century-Palestine, oppressed by monstrous Roman greed. They longed for deliverance, a deliverance that resonates throughout the Psalms, fruitful prayers to sustain our angst, even today.

A messenger arrives, panting and begrimed from the arduous journey across the mountainous desert. “The word’s out! He’s finally coming! Do hold on!”

Our spirits quicken like ravens frolicking across the sky suffused with dawn-light.

“Little time left! Hurry!”

How to prepare our manger-hearts to receive Him?



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