I’ve been going through a lot of self-evaluation lately… sort of a mental inventory where I do spring cleaning on my brain. As I look through old boxes of memories and I sift through piles of data that have been covered with dust, forgotten like old scrapbooks in my closet, I can’t help but wonder why I’m hanging on to this stuff. I still have memories from when I was 5 when I zipped my penis up in my zipper and my grandfather had to help me get it unstuck. Painful memories stay with us longer than the pleasant ones. There is little fading in the color, the edges and outlines of the memory are still crisp. I can remember the way I bounced around in panic and pain, gasping and embarrassed. I was barefoot. My shorts were red and they were a pair of cut-offs that I liked to wear. I preferred wearing underwear but that particular morning I couldn’t find any that were clean and so I had slipped into my shorts and then slipped out the door into the summer sun. So what was I doing with my pants unzipped outside? Peeing of course. A second cause for embarrassment. It was something I knew I wasn’t supposed to do, but something I sure enjoyed doing. I distinctly remember enjoying the way the summer sun felt on my bare skin. There is something so freeing about being in the buff dancing under a shimmering cascade of water sprinkles. Such a carefree time until you do something stupid, like hurriedly zip up when you hear the front door of your house opening.
But what good are these memories? They clutter up my mind and take up space. If my mental hard drive is only say, 1 terabyte, does it make sense that at some point it will get full? And if so, why can’t I pick and choose what I want to keep the way I sort through old clothes and send some off to Goodwill?
These are the things I think of when I can’t get thoughts out of my head. My brain is probably not that different than most, but I think most people like to think that they are something special. Like they have a unique way of thinking or organizing their thoughts. Or perhaps that they are more or less ADD than the next person. Whatever our uniqueness, I’m sure that we all are so much more alike than we’d like to admit.
So today while perusing the labyrinth of my mind I couldn’t help but think of all the waste. The hours I’ve spent in classrooms learning about statistics, algebra, geometry, and even calculus. If I’d spent the same amount of time on economics and accounting how much better off would I be? And what about other basic life skills? Cooking, cleaning, organization, responsibility – these are things that you should be taught in school – but instead we are forced to sit through hours of Geography and history and while I realize it is nice to know where Russia is, that knowledge has never once helped me balance my checkbook, pay my taxes, nor has it been asked in a job interview.
I feel the same way about church. Gasp! What actual life application have I done with all these countless hours I have spent listening to sermon after sermon? I feel guilty for not doing more with this information, sharing it more often, telling others about Christ. Could I be more beneficial if I got out of the Sunday School Classroom and started actually putting into practice some of what I’ve learned? I sit passively week after week listening to sermons, but do I ever share them with anyone other than other Christians? Do I take notes and if I do, do I ever bother to re-read them?
I will say the benefit of that painful memory, where I zipped my penis up in my zipper, well, that is a memory I’ll keep. It reminds me to always wear underwear and to not get in a hurry, ever, when zipping up. But for the other questions this post stirs up, I not have any answers. As I do spring cleaning on my brain, I can’t help but wonder what I need to put in the discard pile and what I need to keep.