I navigated the packed parking lot and finally found a spot. Feeling pretty good about our family’s paring down, I grabbed our items from the trunk and headed into Goodwill’s designated area for donations. I couldn’t believe what I saw. The donation area was full to overflowing, with more being carried in from every angle. As I got my donation receipt and headed back to my car, I watched people bringing in bags upon boxes filled with the flotsam and jetsam of their lives.
What did all this stuff represent? Was the huge plastic snowman lawn ornament all that was left from a holiday celebration that went sour? Were the elderly woman’s clothes and jewelry cast off after her solitary death, a burden for a family member to discard? Did the books, CDs and DVDs come with unfulfilled dreams?
So many of us lead lives cluttered by far too much stuff, so much stuff that we carry it to Goodwill by the carload. Some of the stuff weighs us down. Some of it gets in the way of healthy relationships. Some of it leads us to the brink of financial ruin. And all of it relates to our core spiritual health.
This is an adaptation of a blog post, “The American season of excess?” written by Linda Post Bushkofsky, that appeared on our blog on November 26, 2010. Today we give thanks to God for the service of Mark Hanson who completes 12 years as presiding bishop of the ELCA.