Opening the Door

– Andy Wade –

garage.mess

I try to keep this side of my life hidden. I’m not sure what it says about me and, quite honestly, I don’t really want to know. And yet Lent is a time of exposure. As I open the garage door of my soul, I peer inside, immediately confronted with a jumbled mess. I have a choice, clean up/organize the mess, or quietly shut the garage door and back away. Both choices have consequences.

So yes, this picture is really of my garage. We could play a game with it: Find the following hidden items:

  1. motorcycle (yes, with sidecar!)
  2. safety vest
  3. coffee pot
  4. camp chair
  5. battery charger
  6. planting tray…

The unfortunate reality is that I play this game every time I head into the garage in search of a tool! Another reality I often want to hide from is that my mess affects the people around me too. My wife and kids also have to search through my mess when they need a tool, often at risk of life and limb!

How did it get this way?

Reality and excuse are tightly knit in my world. The reality is that I’m often too busy and attempting to juggle too many balls. I’m also easily distracted and start many projects at once. I pull multiple tools out of my garage to use but “don’t have time” to put them away. Back they go, here and there, often in boxes I’ve used to gather them together and carry them to the project site.

It’s gotten to the point that I have to go in and sort it out. There’s no getting around that fact now. My wife would remind me that if I put them away when I was finished with them, I wouldn’t be in this predicament. And so I try… for awhile.

I don’t like what awaits me as I open that garage door. Even as I’ve accomplished a lot around the house and yard, I’ve created a mess that needs to be cleaned up. It’s going to take work. It’s going to take time.

“Perhaps this time I can discover a new way to organize things that will make it easy to keep everything neat and tidy!” I think to myself. But I know in my heart that it’s not the system that needs to change, it’s my disorganized nature.

Time for Spring Cleaning

As Christine Sine mentions in the introduction to A Journey to Wholeness: Soul Travel from Lent to Easter, spring cleaning (in the west) originated with the season of Lent. And so as I prepare to venture into the mess of my garage I also carry with me an inner mess, a soul too often neglected, piled high with unfinished projects and unordered thoughts. I can learn new spiritual practices, even keep them well during the season of Lent. But if I don’t allow myself to be changed at a fundamental level, all these practices will become like failed New Year’s resolutions.

And here’s the painful truth: change takes time. I will fail. My garage will become cluttered again. So also will my soul once again become overwhelmed and my spirit cluttered. But over time, Lent after Lent, if I’m listening, if I’m attentive, I will be transformed.

So today I choose to open the garage door, to face the mess without and within, to honestly address not just the mess, but the root cause. I know I’ll find tools, both spiritual and mechanical, that I love but have gone missing in the mess. I can put them back to good use or store them away where I can easily find them.

You can tell by the picture that I’ve been putting this off. I’ve kept the door closed and only ventured in when I really needed a tool. But I’ve waited long enough. Because I kept putting off what needed to be done, the work will be harder.

The journey begins by opening the door.