A Conscience-Stinger for Lent

Anyone want a good conscience-stinger for Lent?

Recently I just reread Thomas Dubay’s Happy Are You Poor. And my conscience was stung. I have too much stuff, and my children have too much stuff. And this stuff gets in the way of knowing Jesus. And it’s time to clean house and make space for Him.

Now as a homeschooler, one does need a good supply of books and proper curriculum in order to teach these flocks of children, but do we really need whole drawers full of crayons and colored pencils? Or mounds and mounds of construction paper stuffed in cabinets? Or how about that endless sea of legos taking over the whole basement?

I know that colored pencils, paper, and legos are a good thing. In fact, they are required for Northern Winter Survival, but maybe I’ve overdone it? Uh, yes.

So, I decided to do something about it. Over this last year, I’ve been going through our entire house, closet by closet. Box by box. Drawer by drawer.

For example, I told our children that 75% of their legos actually belong to the poor children who live on a nearby Reservation. And I thought there would be wailing and grinding of teeth and fit-throwing at this Big Announcement, but there wasn’t. They were actually excited to help.

I was the one secretly reluctant to part with my old lego sets of pirates and wizards and Indians that I had passed on to them. I was the one with attachment issues, but by the grace of God, I kept my mouth shut and taped up a huge, heavy box full of those dearly beloved legos. And shipped them off.

And now, I can walk through our basement, without a foot injury. (Most days, anyway. They do have marbles too.) This was the start of it all and got me thinking. Maybe it’s time to think about each room in my house. What else could I give away and get rid of?

Well, I boldly and recklessly cast off the burden of multiple towels too. Now, each child gets one. Yep, I did it. Just one. These towels are even color-coordinated, so each child knows exactly which is his.

For any of you Towel Lovers out there, lest you think that I am totally crazy, I did also keep a small stack of towels for emergencies – you know, like puking, wetting the bed, diarrhea…that sort of thing.

As an aside, I did keep two for myself too, but that is because I’m needy and attached to the idea of beautifully folded towels, serenely waiting on a shelf, for my use after a hot bath and a glass of wine. Plus I’m selfish. You should pray for me.

But this is not the end of it all.  For truly, I’m tired of stuff. If you are too, and want some further encouragement, check out this article by David Mills on “Death Cleaning.” (Click HERE for it.)

And in the meantime, read Dubay’s book, Happy Are You Poor.

Kim Heilman and her husband live in the cold, cold north where they are raising seven children.  She is a stay-at-home mom and is thankful for such things as coffee, wine, and the Catholic Church.  Her conversion story may be found in Ascension Press's Amazing Grace for Families book.  She also blogs at Musings From the Home.