“Everyone say to himself: 'When was the last time I went to confession?' And if it has been a long time, don't lose another day! Go, the priest will be good. And Jesus, (will be) there, and Jesus is better than the priests - Jesus receives you. He will receive you with so much love! Be courageous, and go to confession.”
– Pope Francis
I love dumpsters. I haven’t dived into this one with my therapist yet, but I am sure there’s a lot behind it. Every so many years, I step on a toy or stare at a broken piece of furniture and decide I need to rent a dumpster. This year, as my parents prepare to move from their house and we contemplate some minor renovations in our own, I could feel that "dumpster time" was in the air. When the dumpster rental man asked me how large a dumpster I wanted, I quickly responded, “the largest you got!” When he played back the cubic feet, I probably should’ve thought twice but the price was fine and I told him it was perfect. In addition to loving dumpsters, I am also terrible with estimation.
When the commercial grade dumpster was dropped off and took up the entire width and length of my driveway, I dreaded the feedback I would receive from my wife. I also became convicted that I would not let this golden dumpster opportunity go to waste. I was on a crusade. Broken cooler, tossed! Grungy patio cushions, trash! Broken pieces of wood underneath my deck, dumped! Four trunk-full of things from my parents and a few days of my efforts later - and still, I hadn’t even made a dent in the dumpster. I began to take a hard look at some of the other things to which I was holding back.
As I looked at unfinished projects and all the items with dents and scratches, I couldn’t help but wonder why I thought I needed to make such a great effort to remove so few things. In fact, had I just been a little more disciplined in some choices to begin with, and a little more regular with my trips to Green Drop, I would have probably saved the expense of the dumpster and the stress of the spectacle. But the more junk I accumulated, however small, the more difficult it was to work through it.
I thought about my relationship with the Lord and with sin. How often would some better choices upfront and more frequent conversations with our Lord save me from the accumulation of junk in my spiritual life? When I do fall, do I hold onto my sin so long that it grows and feels impossible to get rid of - too large to lift into the space we are blessed to have as Catholics in the sacrament of Confession? Do I truly believe that I will never be able to fill the Lord’s dumpster, or am I hesitant to repent because I think there is a limit to His grace? Instead of waiting until the right time or the ideal time to say I’m sorry, how different would my life look if I was more disciplined in examining what I was holding on to and that which I need to give up?
Thankfully, my wife wasn’t ready to give me up into the dumpster, and by opening the opportunity up to some other friends, we were able to get more than halfway to filling my dumpster. As we draw closer to the season of preparation in Advent, let’s take inventory of what we can ask the Lord to remove so that we have more than enough space for Him to come.
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