Until recently the house tidying guru, Marie Kondo, had passed me by. Her book the ‘Life changing magic of tidying up’ certainly wouldn’t be of use to me. I am what my Yorkshire mother-in-law would have called a bit of a ‘mucky pup.’ I like clutter, especially when it comes to books. Like all clergy I have too many books. There, that is an admission, but they have come in handy in the past, and they may be needed again in the future. I certainly couldn’t live without them. Clergy are well known for their love of books. Ask any house moving firm, they hate moving clergy, we have so many boxes of books. I heard about Marie Kondo because she had said that no-one needed more than 30 books in their house. After I had a lie down in a
darkened room to get over the shock of this statement, I thought about
which 30 books I would keep if that was all I was allowed. Then I decided that this was a stupid idea and forgot all about it. Marie Kondo asks us to decide whether a possession ‘sparks joy.’ If it doesn’t then it should be discarded. Well, Marie, all my books spark joy so back off! We are surrounded by so many things that we take for granted. A few years ago, Charlotte, Becky and myself were in Paris for a short holiday. At the end of a long day of seeing the sights we came to Notre Dame and looked at the queues of fellow tourists waiting to enter. No, we thought, let’s not bother, we will look inside next time. At the beginning of his wonderful series, ‘Civilisation’ and in the subsequent book Lord Clark says ‘What is civilisation? I don’t know. I can’t define it in abstract terms- yet. But I think I can recognise it when I see it. And I’m looking at it now.’ He was, of course, looking at the basilica of Notre Dame de Paris. Now so diminished but not
destroyed. This wonderful building will be rebuilt, and when it is I will visit it, no matter how long the queues. Our civilisation didn’t fall when Notre Dame burned. But we became aware of what we almost lost. We are surrounded by so much beauty, so many wonderful things, such love, that it is easy to take it all for granted. As we continue in this season of Easter, as the world around us warms up to the long days of Summer, my question to you is this: What sparks joy in your life? Or to look at it another way what can’t you do without? What would change your life if you were without it? As we enjoy the new life all around us try to think on these questions. Perhaps you can share the answers with your friends.