Someone once said, ‘we live where our sacred is, everywhere else we’re just surviving.’ Okay, maybe I made that up.
But in my recent round of house de-cluttering, I moved some books off my desk and into a closet. I’d read these books but didn’t want to get rid of them or have a cluttered desk, so I threw out some closet things I don’t use, built some more (and better) shelves, and presto de-clutter-o! Not to mention a nicer much neater closet – I even put a little lamp on a shelf in there.
Now perhaps with all the book handling and hard work it’s not so strange that I remembered why I want to keep these books. They’re favorite books. Books with ideas I love and believe in, books I originally put on my desk to remind me of those ideas, to have them closer at hand when I want to reread a passage. No nothing is strange here save that I’m standing in my closet thinking about those ideas rather than sitting at my desk.
How did that happen?
Well, it wasn’t only about clutter: I wanted more desk space for work. Because I don’t just write and have fun at my desk, I work at my desk and needed more work room. And admittedly now I have work room there but no thinking room or any real room for what I love. Or re-phrased in a scary thought I had: arbietsraum without denkensraumand lebensraum without liebensraum. Yeah I made some of that up too, and I’m quick to realize I’m only talking about my desk here not closet Nazism, erm, so to speak.
My point: Some people tend to keep things (or symbols of things) they love close at hand: pictures in wallets and on phones, symbolic jewelry or tattoos. And some people make quiet little places dedicated to the thing they love, perhaps an entire basement or just one little shelf. Some people wander carrying amulets, some people dwell and build temples. Perhaps we all have both tendencies and a little oscillation between is necessary and normal.
I shrined some sacred in a closet but I’m not hiding it. At the moment I’m just trying to keep this particular sacred unspoilt by the mundanity of my work space. And to that other cynical thought –I’m merely surviving my desk only to end up living in my closet– I reply: I dwell amongst my wife and kids.