Hanging on to Junk

IMG_0187It’s really summertime because I am walking again every morning. My route through our subdivision allows me to admire the bounties of summer – blue skies with puffy clouds, lush green grass on beautifully manicured lawns (not ours), lovely landscaping – and it takes me down streets that I don’t normally drive through. Since I began this practice on a regular basis about three weeks or so ago, I have walked by one home that has a pickup truck parked on the edge of the lawn near the street. Its bed is filled with junk: an old toilet, microwave, gas grill, baseball bat, to name a few items. The truck has been in the same spot for these three weeks, bed filled with junk, and there’s no sign that it will be going anywhere soon.

Three weeks is a long time to look at a truckload of junk and wonder what it means, and in my wondering I thought about the junk at my own house. It’s concealed better, that’s for sure, and I’m fairly certain none of my neighbors knows about it, though they may suspect I need to do some serious cleaning out whenever our garage door is open. Considering junk like my neighbor’s, left out in the open for rain and sun to work on (to no avail), or junk like my own, neatly stowed and stacked (yet still being junk), makes me notice how often we hang on to stuff that we know we don’t want, that doesn’t help us or serve us or enhance our lives in any way.

I also surmise that behind the beautifully manicured and landscaped homes there is junk that should be hauled away. My garage and the pickup truck parked on the other street are not the only ones who hang on to unhelpful, no longer useful things. While these things could be material goods, they could also be attitudes – judgment, discrimination – anything that seeks to make another human being separate or “other.” Despite the laundry list of differences one could come up with, our common humanity and our special, individual status as a beloved child of God unites us. Even as a church, the very body of Christ, judgments about who is right and who is wrong override our common heritage as beloved children of God. We all may be Adam’s descendants to begin with, but ultimately we are brothers and sisters with Jesus. The junk of needing to be better than someone, anyone, sits in our secret places (or sometimes not so secret places), and it takes up the space where we might know the full freedom we’re entitled to as God’s kids, in intimate fellowship with the Father, the Son (our bro), and the Holy Spirit.

What junk are you hanging on to? What’s keeping you from the freedom you have as God’s child, Jesus’s sib, the container of the Spirit?

~by Nan Kuhlman

IMG_0188P.S. Somebody is missing their teeth in our neighborhood, too. Everyone has his/her own set of troubles. 🙂

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