Does everyone have a junk drawer? For those unfamiliar, it’s that drawer in the kitchen that catches everything necessary and unnecessary for daily living. It contains necessary items like staples, pencils, a loose adhesive bandage, a tape measure, a screwdriver and various other small items. It also contains a lot of unnecessary items like random keys (you have no idea what they go to), broken reading glasses (you kept them just in case you couldn’t find your good ones), plastic ice cream spoons, business cards from encounters long forgotten, a floppy disk (not functional for the last three decades) and so much more. Is there anyone who does not have this drawer in their home?!? If so, you are an anomaly.

Transitions are often an impetus for cleaning out the junk drawer. We reluctantly toss those things that are unnecessary (I say reluctantly because we still entertain the thought they might be needed) and we properly organize and store those things that are necessary. Weeks away from retirement and a move, I find myself sifting through the junk drawer…and the file cabinets…and the closets…and the recesses of my soul. The story is the same in every venue.

Over time, our souls collect a lot of should haves and shames. They nestle themselves among the happier facets of our living and junk us up—taking away a measure of our joy. It’s a healthy habit to sift through our souls every once-in-a-while and rid ourselves of these thoughts. Most of us do it reluctantly, thinking we’re supposed to hang onto the pain and guilt for some reason. Ultimately, throwing this stuff away is the right thing to do. Looking back over these last eight years, there are things I should have done, might have done, could have avoided, and could have done better. There are decisions, relationships, processes and directions that might have been shaped better. I’m trusting we’ll all be graceful to one another with regard to our messiness and choose to simply celebrate the best of our time together. Thank you for all the hugs, cards, blessings and best wishes thus far. The Apostle Paul admonished us to, “…hold fast to what is good.” I can tell we are healthily choosing to hang onto all that is good…and there’s been a lot of good!

—Jim

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