I would notice the clutter in my life even if Pesach weren’t coming. But with Passover approaching, seder meals to cook, haggadot to bring down from the attic, programs to plan for my Jewish patients, and more – it has become clear that the clutter has been diligently following the command of Genesis 1.28 (even though it is not clutter that God commanded to increase and fill the earth.)
So I must prioritize:
1. Clean the car. I work out of my car which means that all too often I eat in my car. My car is the biggest repository of chumetz crumbs in my life. I have car wash coupons (expiring just after Pesach begins,) purchased in anticipation of a winter like last year – a winter when snow and ice and slush covered my car for months and months and months. (As opposed to the winter we got – the one where snow was a stranger.) The coupons will cover the outside and the car wash has huge vacuums so I can attack the inside.
2. Figure out where to put the excessive # of books in my home office (books who also feel compelled to obey Gen. 1.28.) They block the pull-down stairs to the attic. No taming of the book monster = no access to haggadot and Pesach supplies. I thought that having a Kindle would solve the book problem, but that was before I realized that craft books, with diagrams and beautifully colored pictures don’t work on a Kindle; before I realized that I needed some books for work in book form so that I could more easily page through them to find just what I need to help a patient or family.
3. Get the kitchen ready for Pesach. Self-evident. Can’t cook without where to cook.
There is more to clean, more stuff to get rid of or to give away, but that cleaning isn’t the cleaning of Passover. Or perhaps it is. I think that too much stuff becomes the physical, non-food equivalent of chametz. It’s not the 5 grains, not kitniot, not even gebrochts (my absolute all-time favorite Passover word,) but it gets in the way. Too much stuff takes up too much room. It fills up space and blocks me from doing all that I want to do. When I can’t find what I want – to wear, to sew, to knit, to read – it is too easy to just buy more, and that’s the way the clutter really multiplies.
Cleaning out my car, cleaning out my office, cleaning out my kitchen all show me what I have too much of, what I haven’t used or read, what I don’t need. And in letting go of all that, I truly become ready to experience freedom.
(Written in response to Rabbi Phyllis Sommer’s #BlogExodus prompt. Thanks Phyllis – now I have to go clean. And do a load of laundry.)