I honestly do not know how it comes into existence. I mean, it’s not as if we planned the blueprint that says, “We will put the junk drawer here.” Truth is, it just shows up. One day, we have a neat, organized, laid out storage system, looking clean and almost like something you would want to leave the drawer open so everyone could see how beautiful it was, and the very next day, you almost can’t get the drawer open! It is truly remarkable how many different items can end up in one drawer. If it were only one drawer, that it…
I will confess that my desk has way too few drawers in it. I have only three, which would make you think that I’m living a very simple life. Not so. Not at all. One of the drawers carries the theme “family finances,” and it frankly is not too bad. I think I could clean it out in about five minutes, and most everything in there is something of value and purpose – I know I go there to balance the checkbook and find the calculator, and look at our monthly budget…
The other two drawers carry a different theme. You would possibly want to title them “Where did this mess come from?” “Honestly! Who put all this junk in this drawer?” The large center drawer actually has a plastic tray, known in many circles as a “divider,” but in truth, it is a “receptacle.” I have a number of pens and markers in the divider. Actually, I think it’s a breeding ground for pens of all shapes and sizes – sort of Noah’s ark, where every pen of any sort finds a mate, and settles in for the impending flood. The flood of course, are the important scraps of paper, on which many things of consequence were written, but no longer deserve to have a place pinned on the bulletin board. I think I’m creating a future archaeological dig site. I also have my significant collection of reading glasses, or at least the empty cases that used to hold the reading glasses, now that they have been spread across the house, so I can read something small every ten feet or so. I should probably move those somewhere. Sometime.
Of course, the center drawer is also a perfect place to store my address labels, and my scissors and my stamps and my neat little flashlight that I always forget is there, and about thirteen sets of earbuds that I have NEVER used, but seem appropriately to fit in there. It’s not pretty, I tell you – not at all.
My third drawer is the most mysterious, since I don’t recall ever filling it! Well, yes, I do have my phone charger in the corner of the drawer, and for some reason, I see I also have a shoehorn – I should move that sometime. There are various soft rags for cleaning my glasses, and another flashlight or two that I got when I went to a conference a few years ago. I have also amassed a sizeable collection of no longer valid credit cards. Now, I have an idea about that – every place that sends you a new credit card, because your old one is out of date, tells you in no uncertain terms that you MUST cut up and destroy the old card, as a matter of national security. About twenty years ago, I realized that the single identifiable icon of the late 20th and early 21st century was the credit card. If you are looking for the collectible of the future, you won’t be looking at the cut-up, destroyed and thrown away cards, but instead, it will be ones that remain intact, even long after the stores and credit places are long gone. Unfortunately, the third drawer does become the temporary storage for the cards until I move them to the larger box of cards in the closet.
And yes, every so often I will take some time to sort out the junk drawers, and even throw some things away, and move items to other locations. Unfortunately, some of those locations, like in the kitchen and the den, and even the bedroom dresser, also produce junk drawers of all sizes and shapes, filled with amazing and exotic things that I expect to never make use of. I mean, how many pens can an entire region put in one drawer in our house?
A few points of confession: the junk drawer is my fault. Especially the ones in my office, which is my domain and realm over which I rule – I put the junk there. And I put more junk there. It’s easier to put it in the drawer than it is to leave it on the desktop. Or in a box that I will kick with my feet over and over again. Second, the “junk” still has some value. I’m not a hoarder, but we all know we don’t use everything in our houses every day – there indeed may come a time when poorly engineered, weak micro vacuum for cleaning keyboards will spring to life and actually be worth something. There is also something to be said for having “ballast” in a house, to keep it from floating off to space. At least, that’s part of the rationale used to have “junk” of all shapes and sizes in the home. I mean, how many containers do you have in your kitchen for which there are no lids – or worse, how many lids have long lost their containers? Even worse, how many containers do you NEVER use? Ooo – now I’m interfering…
All of this is certainly a silly way to realize that I still live life accidentally in so many different places. Were I to be truly intentional, I might keep even five pens, instead of fifty… when clutter fills my life, I begin to lose focus on what is truly valuable, since there is so much else that disguises things of worth and value. That’s true for physical items, and also true for things in life in general. What DON’T I need in my life? What must I keep, if nothing else? It quickly boils down to the things I cherish and love, and find precious, and that’s a small number of things/stuff/junk.
So perhaps I need to be more intentional about what I need/want to keep and what is just there as ballast, that might be used somewhere else, but not in our home. Perhaps I also need to be more intentional about what I do, and who I love, and how I – on purpose – share the love of Jesus with. When that work happens, we all leave accidental living behind, and clear out the junk drawers, and find only the most precious of gifts given to us by Christ.
Word for the day: numinous. Pronounced NYOO-men-us, it’s of course another Latin word. It’s actually defined as anything that is beyond or surpasses our human understanding. That’s a big word. It carries us into the realm of the spiritual or even the supernatural, but in a good way. When I can’t really comprehend the “how” or even the “why” of something, I am drawn into a more numinous bearing in my life.
The Latin word is numen, which really means “divine will or influence.” In simple terms, there are times when it appears God makes something happen, or something unexplainable happens – usually for the good – that we can only attribute to God. If we pare the word down further, we get to “nuere”, which is simply “to nod.” It’s almost as if sometimes God gives us the nod, or the “thumbs up,” or simply decides to bless or direct us where we might not otherwise go. It’s then that we will certainly sense a numinous occurrence or sensation. When that happens, the polite thing to do is to simply thank God for your blessing….
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.