Week 3: Always Orange in the Basement
Always Orange in the Basement? Not the living room next?
Nope, this week we are hanging out in the basement.
Two weeks ago I started a series, Always Orange at Home, with the purpose of exploring the spaces we inhabit in our homes and drawing some parallels to our everyday lives. We started in the kitchen and moved into the dining room last week.
In my first post, I referenced how September often feels like the beginning of a new year for many. Whether you work in a job that follows a school calendar or you have school-aged children, you know what it is like to think of a year in terms of September to June. I have a hunch that for many of us the glamour of the start of school is beginning to rub off a little. The old habits and familiar excuses creep into our resolve and resolution to “do better” this year. June starts to feel like a million years away.
In my house, the basement is the catch-all for any item I don’t know what to do with at the moment. The clues indicating you are entering a different space strike you immediately. Dust bunnies hide in the corners of the basement steps. Looking upward, cobwebs hang from wooden beams. A folded-up futon stands in the middle of the floor, waiting for its final destination to a new home or the dump. This is a space that maybe gets cleaned once a year and it looks the part.
But it isn’t all disaster down here. Steel shelving units line several of the walls, holding Christmas decorations, camping and hiking equipment, keepsakes, and luggage. Other shelves contain vases, extra candles, and kitchen items not used on a regular basis. The washer and dryer, along with the freezer, call the basement home.
It’s a mixed bag in the basement. There’s the organized part of the space and then there is the part that needs to be addressed, such as the pile of clothes waiting to be delivered to Goodwill or the random items that I don’t know what to do with so they sit on a shelf and collect dust.
Isn’t that like life? We have certain habits or routines that we find easy to accomplish so we do those without even thinking, like breathing. Then there are the parts of our lives that we don’t like or find difficult to maintain on a regular basis (i.e. healthy sleep patterns, exercise, or saying yes to too many commitments) and we tend to put those items in our “basement.” We tell ourselves we will deal with them next week or when life slows down a bit.
Can our faith inform how we view the basement areas of our lives? I believe it can. Scripture is clear: we are fallen creatures. We will never master our vices this side of heaven. So we seek the Holy Spirit’s help on a daily—sometimes moment-by-moment—basis. We ask for forgiveness when we fall short of the mark. We reach out to fellow believers and pray for one another and encourage one another. We accept with open hands the Lord’s compassions, which are “new every morning” (Lam. 3:22).
The Book of Common Prayer has a prayer for guidance that is fitting as we enter a new week and think about the habits and routines that we might prefer to leave in the basement. May these words bring hope and comfort to you.
O heavenly Father, in whom we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray thee so to guide and govern us by thy Holy Spirit, that in all cares and occupations of our life we may not forget thee, but may remember that we are ever walking in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Love your insights! The basement is a great metaphor.–JEH