Spoons in the Silverware Drawer

A new blog from Deacon David. I’ll be 75 years old on November 12. It blows my mind. But there’s more. 75, though oldish, is not necessarily impressive. Not all 75-year-olds are smart. Not all 75-year-olds are grown ups. Not all 75-year-olds are good people. (Et cetera.) And certainly not all 75-year-olds make good husbands.
This is the life challenge that has become a personal project for me. In the broad, it’s to become a better person: more outgoing, less wordy, more present, less scattered, more focused. In practical terms though, I really need to learn how to be  less annoying. I won’t go all confessional, but I can say that I’m getting tired of outmoded habits that don’t add value to my life and tend to try Burna Dunn’s patience.
Just one example makes the point and sets up a brief footnote about meditation, centering prayer, or whatever name you give to just sitting, basking in silent grace.
Here’s a relatively non-alarming, potentially fruitful confession. For many years I’ve been a “re-arranger”—the kind of person who can’t pass up an opportunity to create a little order out of ordinary, everyday chaos, like randomness in the silverware drawer. The knives go here, the forks go next, the spoons go last, and the long things go in the special section on the right.
Yes, I have known that this is pretty neurotic, and, if not exactly a formal obsessive-compulsive disorder, certainly a low-grade OCD-like annoyance to my wife, and a unproductive energy leak for me.
I began meditating in earnest last May, as I wrote last week, just sitting, every morning, in silence, relaxing, and simply letting go of all the stuff of my life that breaks the calming silence of my mind.
I have noticed that I am a little less bugged by some imagined mis-arrangement of the silverware drawer.
This is a very small thing but a very big deal related to growing up. I am beginning to relax when I open the silverware drawer. Some meaningless baggage in my life is naturally going away; an old habit left over from childhood is, we might say, dissolving.
Something about the way life and grace work becomes clear. If I relax, calm myself, and gently let go of the distractions that clutter my mind, a simple, healing, whole-making something is activated within me. The practice of just sitting releases me from what is not me. A surprising freedom is offered without my having to lift a finger. It is offered, freely, as a gift. And I have better things to attend to than the spoons in the silverware drawer.


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