Cathartic Cleaning

“I am not a hoarder!” he says, trying to be convincing.    Today is a big day for me.  I finally got rid of my old, still functioning, TRS-80 Model III computer.  I still remember the day in 1981 when I plunked down $999 at the Radio Shack store in Hobbs, New Mexico.  The beginning of almost 30 years of computing which has taken me around the world and back home again.

My friend Mark first showed me what a TRS-80 could do when we were freshman in the dorms at Oklahoma State. I’ve been hooked ever since.  Through the days of green screen monitors, 300 baud modems, dot matrix printers, arthritis causing keyboards, buggy software, computer viruses, Compuserve, AOL, MS-DOS, …    (For the record, I’m a Mac guy now, so most of those problems have gone away.  Ha!)

That Model III was a great machine for its time.  I even managed to write my master’s degree thesis on it.  Mind you, this was long before MS Office existed, but it still passed the scrutiny of the “ruler lady” in the Graduate College office who judged the formatting of my finished thesis.

So why am I now parting with this piece of Esteban-lore?  Because it is Lent.

Usually, during Lent, I try to do something penitential, such as giving up meat or caffeine, as a small reminder of Christ’s passion.  This year, I decided that I wanted to do something different.  Something more liberating, more freeing.

I am reminded of the man in the Gospel of Mark who asks Jesus about how to inherit eternal life. The Lord tells him to sell his possessions, give to the poor, and follow Him.  The man went away sad because he had many possessions.

I’m really not a hoarder, but I tend to hang on to things much longer than I need to.  I have been “planning” a garage sale for about 10 years but never got around to it.  I have the habit of keeping things for that “someday when I might need it.”

So, for this Lent, enough is enough.  I’m parting with many of the things that I’ve been carrying around like extra baggage.  Parting with my trusty old Model III, by donating it to Goodwill for recycling, was a first step that will make further donations easier.  It was a bit of personal history that was really meaningless in the big scheme of things.

It’s been rather cathartic, a cleansing of my physical estate, a prelude to the cleansing of my spiritual estate that will come during the remainder of Lent and the confession and solemnity of Holy Week, yet to come.

Join me!