Scan and Shred: Purging for 2020


Going into a new year, many of us are clearing out the old oftentimes to make room for the new or to release things that no longer serve us, from books and clothes to all sorts of other elements in our physical and spiritual spaces that need purging. For me, I like to do the same, but I also like to take a look at what I call “loose papers.” These could be anything from event flyers, program booklets, nametags, magazine clippings, and the host of other single leaves of paper that collect over time -- things that are connected to memories. And generally, I keep these items in a file folder, but as events come and life happens, one file folder is not enough. The one folder becomes two then a whole drawer and before the year’s end, I have at least one full box of “loose papers.”


Going through the documents, I thought, maybe I should make scrapbooks. Then I thought maybe I could create a filing system. But then I realized, at the end of the day, the clutter is still there. Then I thought maybe I could scan and shred the documents, but with pieces from conference placards to greeting cards, the number of collective hours for a project like that would total to weeks. Yet as I continued with the sifting and shifting, I realized some things were worth the work and worth keeping, and some things are better as a memory.


And in that experience, I heard God. What I had to look at was emotional attachment versus physical space. There are components in our lives that warrant effort to be kept and maintained; there are things that do not. Some things are better as a memory. And having no physical reminder does not take away from the time that the thing served us and added value to our lives, but we owe it to ourselves to review and assess to define if that is still the case or has the relic itself become the point of value rather than what it represents and to make room and space beyond that.


What things, people, processes, relationships, or practices are better as a memory?

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© 2018 by Gerald Garth