Call to Order
by Jan Powell
(Ephesians 5:16, KJV)
I’m the child of a “collector” father who kept all kinds of stuff in our burdened single-car garage.
In his late eighties, he had a two-car garage so tightly packed that getting in and out of either car was a call to diet. One weekend I visited with the mission of “straightening up.” I said I’d rearrange and declutter, and urged him to watch TV. That day I filled three trash cans for dumpster trucks to empty curbside.
Several times Dad checked my progress. You’d have thought I tossed the family treasures, not pared down four large boxes of rags to one.
He opened a trash bag and removed a cord, long-detached from the original appliance, and exclaimed, “I could use this for something.”
I challenged him. “What?”
“I don’t know.”
I held the limp cord. “How long have you had this?”
“Maybe fifteen years.”
End of that discussion.
He resisted admitting there wouldn’t a need for it. Or the rusted tools, the crushed, roach-infested boxes, or the empty bottles that once held cleaning products.
We had tense words over a bag of crushed seashells. I assured Dad I’d sorted and kept the good ones and showed him those stored in a tidied space.
At the end of the day, with organized shelves and walking space around the vehicles, he concluded that I got rid of everything good.
I think we all know I didn’t.
Similarly, imposing order on our writing space and material frees our creative thoughts for easy access. But we tend to resist organizing.
First, we cling to our little darlings, whether early or recent. Second, we identify with our words and resist the disposing of an expression of our identity. Third, getting and keeping organized is work, and we rationalize—we could be writing. And finally, we’re reluctant to believe less clutter means more composing.
I understand. I was a messy kid but got neater in my late teens. After college, I lived in a 600 square foot mobile home, and I learned to value tidiness.
Wherever we fall on the organization spectrum, we can straighten up to redeem our writing time and complete our projects. We discard the unnecessary and the redundant but keep what’s good.
Father, enable me to use my gifts and redeem the time you have given me.
Jan Powell, a graduate of the University of South Florida has two small businesses. Through Writing with You, she offers writing services: editing, rewriting, coaching and ghost writing for fiction and non-fiction. She loves to help polish manuscripts for others. She has been published in The Wordsmith Journal and Splickety Magazine.