How does a pack rat begin the uncluttering process? You accumulate books and magazines and articles, mementos and keepsakes, plaques and awards and framed things from a forty or fifty year ministry, and then one day, you begin to get rid of it all, piece by piece.
Fortunately, every time we move (change churches or offices or homes), we have to go through and throw out. So, it’s not like I’m starting from scratch. But still, you’d be surprised (depressed?) by the files and books and stuff I still cart around from one place to the next.
Even when you’re not trying, things just accumulate. For example, at this moment, atop the bookcase in this office are the following items, going left to right: a pewter bud vase (that’s empty); a ceramic angel a friend gave me a couple of Christmases ago; a “New Yorker” magazine coffee mug; a replica of a Toucan bird someone brought back from an overseas mission trip; a gavel received from when I was president of something or other; a small casket (?) with “McK” etched into it which plays “How Great Thou Art” (the signature on the bottom reads “Wilber”); a red clear whiskey bottle (empty!) with Harry Truman’s image in relief; a teak (i.e., wooden) beaver from a preaching trip to Canada a generation ago; a life-sized hand made of wood inside of which is the smaller image of a child from someone’s mission trip somewhere; several interesting rocks; a Louisiana Baptist Convention mug; a ceramic image of Jesus the Shepherd given to me forty years ago by a friend; a child behind a pulpit with a tiny dog standing nearby given by longtime friend Joyce Ponder; a bottle of brown water from Greenville, Mississippi, complete with a bug inside; another small angel; and finally, two metal (heavy!) University of Alabama bookends.
Still with me?
Now, lining the top of the office wall above that same bookcase are six framed items: a photo of Dr. Thomas Cox Teasdale’s tombstone in Friendship Cemetery in Columbus, MS, with photographer Sharon Sams Adams’ little son Boardman reaching up to the weeping angel; the original artwork from a Sunday “Gasoline Alley” comic strip given by artist Jim Scancarelli; the signatures of Billy and Ruth Graham above which each wrote their favorite scriptures; and three original daily comic strips, given by the artists: “Snuffy Smith,” given by Fred Lasswell; “Tiger,” given by Bud Blake; and “Frank and Ernest,” given by Bob Thaves.
And that’s just one wall!
Fortunately, we have regular meetings of our pastors around here, so little by little, I’ll lay out giveaways on tables and move the clutter from my office to theirs!