Seeking A Simpler Life

The Season of Lent ends soon. Good news!

Peter Baker | 20:30, 21 March 2013 

All those things we have given up for forty days are back on the agenda! Chocolate, pastries, meat. That may be a gross over-simplification of what, for many, is a time of very significant spiritual detoxing. A period in which we let go of certain things in order for us to take perhaps more important things seriously. 

I’ve actually used this period for a dual purpose. Our imminent house move has given me a huge incentive to de-clutter, downsize and generally sort through the garage, attic, every nook and cranny and throw stuff out, put it up for auction or ask people if they have any use for some of my luxury items. It is amazing how much of our unnecessary accumulations can be recycled in this way.

I mean, who needs to keep dozens of shirts, suits, jackets and four sports holdalls? Now please don’t judge me until you have walked a mile in one of my several pairs of shoes! This collection is the overlooked acquisition of 18 years. Some of these items are seriously dated but they should make for the mother of all garage sales. 

The box count is being reduced, the gadgets are going and we will simplify life.

I am happily giving them all up except my hi-fi kit! Perhaps only audiophiles can fully appreciate the pull of a beautiful speaker, the mesmeric effect of shiny black boxes that can create an immersive audio and video experience. Coming to terms with the disposal of these squares and rectangles of pleasure has been a major challenge for me - although not for my wife for some reason! She finds all the cabling and carpet manoeuvring a hideous distraction from an otherwise smart living room. It’s at times like this that I realise all good relationships are about compromise. So I have compromised. The box count is being reduced, the gadgets are going and we will simplify life.   

A bit like Lent, this move from one home to another has generated all sorts of questions about what we keep and why, what we throw away and how. And I am grateful for that.

Lent is about getting life into perspective. And that challenge doesn’t end when Lent does.

When the remains of King Charlemagne the Great were discovered, he was buried surrounded by some of the fabulous wealth of his empire. On his lap was a book, the Bible. His skeletal finger was pointing to a verse in Luke’s gospel: "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet forfeit his very self". Lent is about getting life into perspective. And that challenge doesn’t end when Lent does.

 

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