An Empty Drawer

Spring is around the corner. It could be the warmer weather, or the extended hours of daylight, or the season of Lent that many of us celebrate, but something about this time of year moves us to want to clear the clutter from our lives. Spring is a season for purging, whether your clutter is physical or of a more spiritual nature. It’s just that time of year.

The other day, I tackled my bureau. Well, no, I didn’t physically take it down. But I faced the once-organized-but-totally-neglected mess in its drawers. I can’t remember the last time I put on a pair of pantyhose, yet I’d managed to stuff at least a dozen pairs into a shoebox-sized bin in the top drawer. Fashionable scarves that I haven’t worn once since this pandemic began were squished into a second bin. Socks and belts and random boxed jewelry filled in the spaces between the bins. And that was just the top drawer.

Everything came out of the drawers. I vacuumed them out and then neatly put back what I decided to keep. I could go into detail about how I made those choices, but that’s a subject for another day. And not the point I want to make today. Instead, what I found interesting, was that when I’d finished, more than half of the large, deep bottom drawer was empty. And my immediate impulse was to figure out what I should put in there. Surely I had other spaces that I could clean out and better organize, transferring some of their contents to this mostly empty drawer.

But I left it mostly empty, instead.

What was it about an empty drawer that made me uncomfortable or dissatisfied? Why do we always need to fill the empty spaces? I don’t think there’s an empty drawer or shelf anywhere in my house. Why is that? I saw an ad on tv the other day for a closet-design company. The poor people in the ad needed help because they had too much stuff and no where to put it, so the closet designers solved their problem by creating a wonderfully organized space for them. Now they had room for all their stuff. And more! How satisfying. But, I thought, what if they just got rid of some of their stuff instead? We’re so programmed to not consider that option. But, it is an option.

I wonder, if you and I looked around our homes today, would we find an empty drawer or shelf or cabinet or closet or tabletop? Or do we just spread our stuff into every available space, buying something because it will fill that one empty spot? How would you feel if you emptied one of these spaces and left it empty? Would it feel great, at first, but then feel like an itch that needed to be scratched? A void that needed to be filled? Why? I’m not trying to answer that question here. I just find the question very interesting.

You?

 

So, This Is Advent 2020…

November is almost behind us and Christmas is coming! What a strange Christmas it’ll be. In our family, we’re trying to adhere to the CDC’s recommendations, which means no holiday get-togethers. It’s tempting to forgo the Christmas decorating, too. But that seems kind of like sitting in a corner, pouting, because we aren’t getting our way. So, we forge ahead trying to bring a bit of cheer to our corner of this pandemic-stricken world.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving was warm-ish here in New England, so, I hung the artificial wreaths across our upper row of front windows. A strategically placed eye hook above each window makes it a fairly easy job. Those poor wreaths are getting old and dry, which means the bedroom floors needed a good vacuum to take care of the fake pine needles after the wreaths were hung.

Next, I hung several lengths of garland along the front porch railings. A velvety bow at each post festively hides the wires and strings used to secure the garland. Just one problem this year: the bag of old bows was missing. Did I throw them out last year because they were old and faded, with the intention of buying new ones this year? (Your guess is as good as mine.) To compound the problem, I use burgundy bows on my wreaths and porch, instead of Christmas red. With all the premature decorating that people have been doing and the fact that burgundy bows aren’t as commonly available as red, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of shopping for them. I considered making them myself, but all that looping and twisting of ribbon isn’t my forte. (I worked at a greenhouse/florist in high school, but could never match the bow-making skills of the florists there.)

Anyway, first, I tried to buy some online. One site sold them for twenty dollars apiece! I used to get them for ninety nine cents, and was hoping to buy ten, so that was a ‘no’. Another site had suspended online orders due to order volume. So, I got in my van to search the old-fashioned way. Five stores later, I found them. But I could only justify buying six, due to the price. My porch looks happier now. πŸ™‚

For those who celebrate Advent, it started this past Sunday. My husband and I haven’t ventured back to church since Covid-19 hit. We’ve been watching mass online instead. When I was fetching the outdoor decorations in the attic, I came across a set of Advent candles, so about an hour before mass, I scrambled to assemble a make-shift Advent wreath using a party tray, some cardboard and thumbtacks, and an unused artificial wreath. Not elegant, but functional. Maybe I’ll spend a little time this week shoring it up before next Sunday.

These simple efforts have started my Advent off on the right foot, I think. And a little more effort is what I plan to ask of myself this season. What about you? Christmas is coming, so we might as well celebrate however we’re able and try not to think about what we’re missing. Let’s deck our halls and appreciate what we have. Hopefully, next year will be all the more special.

Gratitude Spiral: Day 327

Today, I’m grateful for my kitchen mat.

I found this in a store one day when looking for a soft, cushiony mat to stand on while washing dishes in the kitchen sink. The words (when I take time to notice them) remind me to be thankful for simple thingsβ€”like a soft mat to stand on. πŸ™‚

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 296

Today, I’m grateful for the never-ending list of tasks for home & yard upkeep.

It’d be a lot easier to complain about such a list. But the fact that I have a home and a yard to care for is a blessing. So, I’m grateful for the cleaning, painting, repairing, weeding, landscaping, and everything in between. πŸ™‚

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 203

Today, I’m grateful for poultry seasoning.

In my younger days, I thought the name meant it somehow contained chicken. Oops! Now, although I do use it on chicken, I realize it can be used for other dishes, as well. The blended aroma of sage, thyme, & other spices lends a comforting homeyness to any dish. And the kitchen smells so good when it’s cooking. πŸ™‚

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 197

Today, I’m grateful for my washing machine.

It’s one of those things I take for granted most of the time, but I’m thankful for its thirty years of work. It got me through multiple loads of laundry, produced by four growing children, like a champion. Although it’s been repaired a few times, it keeps on serving me well. πŸ™‚

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 185

Today, I’m grateful for the view from our back deck.

I’m so thankful for the expanse of trees behind our house. It affords privacy, but, even better, a natural & peaceful view. Sitting out there on a a breezy spring day is such a treat!

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 112

Today, I’m grateful for all the little necessities that make a house a home.

I’ve got food and water. I’ve got clothes and blankets and a furnace to keep me warm. I’ve got a phone and a computer to keep in touch with family. I’ve got music to listen to, books to read, a to-do list to add to and subtract from. And my health, today. πŸ™‚

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 47

Today, I’m grateful for home.

After a weekend away (maybe just a day or maybe a whole week), there’s nothing like the feeling of coming home. It’s being embraced by the comfortable and familiar that brings an immediate sense of being settled and safe. And I’m grateful for that blessing.

What about you?