The old coffeemaker had been sitting in the middle of the counter since we moved—and that had been well over a month. Every day, there was a dance. The small appliance would shimmy to the right as dinner was prepared. It would shimmy to the left as the dishes were piled. Then it would shuffle to the back as the milk came out of the fridge. My husband asked why we still had the machine. “Let me think about it,” I said. It just felt complicated.
One morning, as the light streamed in, I saw the coffeemaker for what it actually was: a dusty, once-useful machine that was no longer functional and was obstructing the flow of movement in my kitchen. I looked up recycling options. After I got rid of it, I had more space. There was more room for the things I did need, and I was able to move around more freely. Everything felt less cumbersome.
Why the long dance in the first place? I was partly hanging on to the coffeemaker because I wondered if it could be fixed. More than that, though, I was sentimentally attached to that machine. It had been, after all, a trusty companion offering warm libations through many a late-night writing deadline.
That time had passed.
St. Ignatius cautioned about attachments. He warned that even good things, things that once served us well, can become obstacles in our progress toward God. When we become attached to something, it takes up space in our heart and our soul, and we lose freedom to respond freely to God’s call.
It’s worth considering in prayer:
- Are there any practices in my prayer life that no longer serve me in my relationship with God?
- Are there any attitudes or habits that are limiting my freedom to hear and respond to God’s call? Procrastination? Perfectionism? Self-criticism? Doubt? Fear? Anger?
- Is there anything that I’m hanging onto mentally, physically, or spiritually that is limiting my freedom to accept God’s love?
When we have difficulty seeing our attachments and places of un-freedom, as I had difficulty seeing my coffeemaker for what it was, we can ask God for the grace to see. Pray, as Ignatius did, “Take, Lord, and receive all I have and possess. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.”
Don’t be afraid to let go of those things that are cumbersome so that God can move us into a place of greater freedom—a place where we will have plenty of room to dance unrestrained.