It Isn’t Clutter to Me


“Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.”
-Wendell Berry

But, I love my ‘stuff.” I know we’re supposed to try and remain detached from the things of this world lest possessions detract us from our spiritual lives. I have my suspicions about this. I can’t help wondering if the collective wisdom of this admonition came from those who never had all the wonderful things I have. I question this because I know how righteous I sound when saying no to a piece of chocolate cake or pie, but the truth is, I don’t like either of them. So maybe those that don’t have a lot of ‘stuff’ think the rest of us shouldn’t have any either?

Don’t get me wrong, without a life of introspection and prayer, all the treasures of the world can’t bring joy, but my years of seeking the truth may have left me with a quirky understanding how best to lead my spiritual life. For example: I never ‘give up’ something for Lent because I can’t figure out what pleases God about that. Instead, I take something ‘on.’ This is the same Stepheny who believes that when we cross the River Jordan we won’t be asked if we have sinned much, but have we loved much? (Read more about that notion in my novel, Greening of a Heart.)

Moving to “The Cottage for Two,” which is sized down and on one floor, has meant giving up a lot of things. People said, “Don’t worry, you will be glad once you’ve done it. Sort of like Wendell Berry’s quote about being relieved to have the house burn down to get rid of the clutter. Tomorrow I will tell you about the dollhouse and you decide.

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
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