Let’s get something straight. I’m a hypocrite. Anyone who’s seen my office can tell you. And if it looks clean to you, ask my wife about all the “stuff” at home that I won’t let her throw out. Yes, I’m fully aware of the irony present when I title this “Let It Go” and attempt to point out that some folks are drowning in junk.
Part of our mission this week is to help Ms. Ruby and the Mayes clean out some of their clutter (at least that’s what it looks like when you’re not attached to it). We were able to convince them to let us throw out some stuff to help make their homes more livable, and it was an eye-opening experience for the youth, not just to see so much clutter, but to realize that someone could not allow themselves to part with something that we could all recognize as trash. Moldy books with pages chewed by mice, stacks of old 5 gallon paint buckets, and 3 unopened bottles of OJ from 2012 that look like pureed bananas. These were just a few of the items they could not let go.
Some of our youth who spent the last 2 days with Ms. Ruby know these lyrics from Frozen might describe this widow’s house at the end of a gravel road bearing her name:
…A kingdom of isolation,
And it looks like I’m the queen.
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know! Let it go, let it go!
At the Mayes’ house this morning, the kids scratched their heads. Standing in the middle of a musty wooden shed covered with poison ivy, their faces were clear: “Why would someone want to keep this junk?” The sunlight streaming through the boards illuminated not only the dust we’d stirred up but also the teachable moment.
“It’s easy to look at all this junk and forget that at one time it was shiny and new and somebody wanted to buy it. But everything you have in your house is just like this. One day, it’s all going to fall apart, and someone’s going to take it to the dump. Remember what Jesus said? ‘Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust…Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.'” (Matthew 6:19-21, The Message)
No question that we send youth on mission trips to share the love of Christ. But also because Elsa’s right…
It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all! Let it go, let it go
And I won’t be the only one cleaning out my closets when I get home.
(Frozen lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, Copyright 2013, Disney)