We all have one. I have three. Junk drawers, that is. One of mine is in my nana’s beautiful hundred and fifty year old sideboard. I think Americans call them buffets. My nana inherited it from her mother. My mother had it after that. It’s mine now and I love to imagine the dinners and other gatherings it witnessed in another place, another time. My mind’s eye sees it stacked with tea trays, silver platters, serving bowls and the “good” china. An ivory lace runner with embroidered floral designs, daffodils and pansies mostly, soften the dark, rich oak and the immensity of this treasured family heirloom. My nana’s legendary Sunday roast dinner is about to be served. A savory, mouthwatering aroma fills the air in the small dining room with net curtains and powder blue walls. New potatoes drip with butter and just a pinch of salt. Steam escapes from a covered bowl filled to the top with carrots and onions cooked to perfection. Yorkshire puddings, beef broth drizzled over them, arouse the senses and beckon. A raspberry and rhubarb trifle, layered with jam, sponge cake and heavy cream tempts every sweet tooth in the room.
But, I digress, this sideboard, definitely regal in its day, has crossed an ocean and travelled many miles only to house a junk drawer. This is an abomination!
Still, this ill placed junk drawer exists. In it lives a collection of things no longer useful, outdated items, broken things, extras. Batteries, do they still have a charge? A handful of paperclips, some errant staples and half a dozen thumbtacks. Ouch! A receipt for a dozen donuts, faded and creased. Was I hiding it? Over-sized calculators from an age when we didn’t have everything we needed on a cell phone. A miniature screwdriver long since separated from its handy, pocket-sized set. A very nice parting gift when it was whole. Three bottles of glue. An empty tape dispenser. Some sour hard candy. Sticky and bitter. A deflated balloon. An invitation to a birthday party, four years ago! Pens with no ink. Pencils with no erasers. A faded picture of me beside my first car. It was candy apple red and I was so proud. And my son’s wisdom teeth wrapped in gauze tucked into a tiny yellow envelope. That’s just gross!
So a collection of discarded items, hidden from sight, simply is. These things are not wanted nor are they needed anymore. They no longer serve a purpose for anything, to anyone except to take up space. They are an unsightly mess that we intend to get to, one day. Why do we keep them? Shouldn’t the drawers in this exquisite piece of furniture with brass pulls, claw feet and gold inlay be filled with a white linen table cloth and starched, ironed, neatly folded napkins? Shouldn’t it hold polished, carefully stacked forks, spoon and knives? Pretty things. Clean things. Useful things. Best things.
I think the sideboard is a little like us. We are a beautiful creation, crafted by a carpenter’s gifted hand. None of us is anything like another. We are one of a kind and serve many purposes. We have sailed seas, sometimes enjoying calm winds and peaceful waters and other times weathering dangerous storms. We have been boxed up, wrapped up and taken to new places. Sometimes we remain in storage, waiting. We may lose a handle, bare a scar, a watermark or two but eventually, we are restored to our former glory and purpose.
We may still house a junk drawer or two however and it is full of things that plague us and hold us back. These seemingly bottomless spaces hold the things that are unnecessary, things that remind us of days long gone, things that are not part of our lives anymore. Things that we hid, things that we missed and things that stung and caused pain. Even things that are unsightly and tasteless.
Perhaps we need to clean out these junk drawers in our minds, rid ourselves of the chaos. We are, after all a priceless work of art, a masterpiece like no other and the junk only takes up space. The contents are redundant and embarrass us. Perhaps that is why we hide it. I say, empty those drawers. Realize your worth. Don’t mind the imperfections. Polish yourself up. Shine again.
“Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold all things are become anew.”
2 Corinthians 5:17