The Minimalism Game...
At the end of August, a friend challenged me to play the Minimalism Game for a month. I clicked on the link and discovered that for each day of the month, I would need to get rid of that number of things: one on Sept 1, two on Sept 2 and so on. My knee-jerk response was, “I can’t possibly do that! I love my stuff.” Then I thought, “Ok, I’ll give it a try.” As of today, I have thrown away, given away, or recycled at least 465 things. It was easier than I ever would have imagined.
One of the things that fascinated me was a frequent response when I told people what I was doing. They would say, “So could you get rid of 20 pieces of paper? What about 25 rubber bands? Grocery bags should be good for a day or two.” We have a tendency to soften challenges by looking for loopholes. What’s the minimum I have to do? How much can I get away with? How can I do this without any cost to my comfort? Our spiritual lives can follow the same path. Think of Lent, when we look for ways around the “no meat on Friday” rule. Jesus had a thing or two to say about possessions. So did St. Francis. They knew that too many distractions can make it hard to focus on God. Pope Francis said recently, “In order to love life we don’t need to fill it up with things, which then become idols; we need only that Jesus watch over us.”
Through a month focused on getting rid of things, I gained far more than I lost. I pushed myself to see how much I could accomplish, and it became a surprising springboard to reflection, to prayer, to new possibilities. I still have too much stuff. But now I know in a very concrete way that I can do something about that.