Who would have thought that getting something bigger would make things feel roomier? But that is just what happened. After nineteen years I finally broke down and bought a much needed new couch over Easter break. It’s three inches wider, deeper, and taller than the hand-me-down it replaced and I had some concern, as I sat on it in the showroom, that it might make my small living room seem too cramped. Still, liking the clean lines and color (as well as the price) I went for it, gambling I would somehow be able to accommodate it and make it work.
Couch arrives, and being larger it, of course, does take up a bit more space, causing one minor rearrangement to be made. But after several days of seeing this larger couch in the same spot the old one had been I realized the living room actually felt roomier. With nothing else changed how could this be, I asked? My guess was that the cleaner, slightly retro 50s look, as well as a quieter pattern than the previous bolder, flowery fabric, were to thank for this happy accident.
Whatever the reason for this feeling of roominess I was grateful and was enjoying having a new, more comfortable couch when I started to realize this piece of furniture was also causing a desire to expand this roominess to all the corners of my home—and since Easter break I’ve embarked on a serious, focused, room by room purging. I’ve never been a clutter queen but there still were numerous things in my home that could go.
As I’ve been cleaning out stuff (I’m halfway through the second room) it’s also made me resolve to not fill (clutter) this newly opened space back up with new things. This resolve is because not only does my living room feel roomier, I feel roomier. This interior roominess—roominess of heart—wants to be filled with something greater than simply more things; without realizing it God stepped in through purchasing a new, (bigger) couch and in the process helped me make more room for him. Now how will this translate in the long run? I don’t yet know, but fueled with Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete Et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad), on holiness that I’ve been using the past couple weeks in my parent letter, I have a working blueprint, a plan in front of me to help keep me on course.
The beauty of this Papal letter is that it’s a blueprint for all of us, and it’s not any harder to put into action than it is to go shopping. The big hurdle might be desire, but try cleaning some corner of your life, be it things, or commitments, etc., and see if that opened up space doesn’t cause you to breathe just a little more easily and feel a little roomier inside. I’m confident it will, and then, before adding any new additions, stop and ask our Lord into that space. He will happily oblige and will guide you where to go next with this interior roominess—but if you, momentarily, feel at a loss on how to proceed turn to the Bible (the Beatitudes are a good place to head first—Mt. 5:3), the Pope’s exhortation, or online resources like WordonFire.org.
“Holiness is the most attractive face of the Church,” Francis says in Gaudete Et Exsultate. Roominess of heart leads us to holiness, and like holiness, is a “source of peace and joy given to us by the Holy Spirit.” We are the face of the Church—holiness in us is most attractive. It brings about that roominess of heart, attracts others and grows when we put a face to it. Can you be holy? Yes you can! - Sí se puede!
The WordonFire.com link below is included more for you to click on the link to Leonard Cohen’s song “You Want It Darker,” than to read Dr.Tom Neal’s (https://nealobstat.wordpress.com/) article, but I do like the article also, which is why I don’t go directly to the song. The song spoke to me on many levels, as well as opened another little window into my Jewish blood, but it’s the line “I’m ready, my Lord,” that fit well with opening up space in our hearts for God and that was the clincher for including it here.