A few years ago I went to my daughter’s closet and found her shoes spilling out. In looking at the stock I could see a history. Converse ‘chucks’ that were colored with marker from high school friends, black tennis shoes that were required at work – marking a period in her life, numerous flip flops (even duplicate pairs in the same color) that had with them emotional attachments to events, moments from her recent summers. When you looked at the sum of the shoes, they were just a pile. They had in common familiarity and all found themselves in the same closet. What they did not all have in common was their usability in her life today. I reasoned it was time to help her play the game ‘Will I Miss You’ and so I waited till she came home.
Attempting to make this fun, rather than a drudge, I lined up all her shoes in her room – they were all waiting for inspection. I positioned a comfy chair in front of the army, and had her favorite mocha, java, whipped cream something-or-other waiting for her.
When she came home I led her to her room and announced it was time to play “Will I Miss You?” To her delight I handed her the sweet drink and then sat her down in the decision chair. Once she grasped the activity we began the methodical process of holding up each pair of shoes for a determination of their fate. They each asked her (through my interpretation) if she would miss them if they were gone. Pair by pair these (some very weary) soldiers fell to either the ‘yes I would miss you’ or ‘no you would be forgotten’ piles. At the end of the activity my daughter had successfully cleaned out her shoe closet. The next time she needed to grab a pair of shoes, all her options were possibilities, not time wasters or distractions.
As so, I walked away feeling I had cleverly checked something off both of our ‘to do’ lists, only to make a disturbing connection at how I was laying out my day, and really, day-after-day, my life. So much of the activity of my day was a distraction, a waste. It was time to play my own version of ‘Will I Miss you’.
‘Facebook. Will I miss you? Or at least, miss scrolling down too-often mindless posts that leave me feeling empty and tired?’
‘Television at night. Will I miss you? More than I would miss the opportunity to walk out my door and marvel at the stars, the rain, or making greater connections with people in my neighborhood?’
‘News. Newspapers. News online. Will I miss you, or is what I am missing sweet time I could be spending with Jesus, listening to what God is telling me in His Word, offering hope and guidance rather than gloom and despair.’
I continue have to decide what to keep, what to throw out. The list above is the easy-to-share nothing too personal version for posting. But it is time for me to sit in the decision chair, maybe with a delicious coffee drink. I want all my daily options to be full of God’s opportunities and possibilities.
“And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work [play, rest and all], that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!” Psalm 90:17