There is so much to clean, and the fluorescent green numbers
on the oven fix me with an accusing stare. Why are you
sitting like that? Move! Do! Accomplish!
But I am in a thinking mood. Languid, philosophical brooding
that tends towards the useless side of things. So I stare at
the small pile before me and ponder life's deepest
An old crayon stub. The top of a lost sippy cup. A small nail
that my husand insists he needs. For what? "You never know,"
he says. And then there is the pile of papers. School
projects. Old bills. Shopping lists. Receipts, recipes,
invitations. How can a person think with so much? So much . .
. so much everything!
It's time to move back to basics, I decide. I dump the
whole pile into the garbage. I begin to walk away, dreaming
of a life as simple as it used to be. When? I don't know, but
everyone says it used to be simpler. I try to imagine being
in touch with nature. Discarding or giving away my extra
clothes. Buying only necessities. Bread and salt.
Maybe I should try to make my own clothes. Then I remember
that I don't even know how to sew. And that's when it hits
me. I just threw out Moshe's Purim project, Shira's favorite,
albeit broken, doll, Dovid's nail collection, and receipts I
might need some day. I begin to unpack the garbage bag, item
What do I need? What do I have? How do I use it? And how do I
leave this constricting place of things? As I sort
through the pile again, I seem to sink deeper into the
material world. This is dirty. That should be replaced. This
should be organized. I need to buy another one . . . etc.
And I know I need to leave this narrow place of cleaning only
the surfaces of my life.
I walk into water that opens up into a path. I journey
through a parched desert that teaches me how to ask. How to
cry. How to love . . . my family, my neighbors, my people .
He redeems me from the limits of my space and brings me into
an expansive Land. He shows me what I have and how to use it.
He hands me back my pile of useless things and teaches me how
to see. How to think.
How to take the smallness of this world and make it holy.