Time for a declutter?

When we moved into our new building at BBC Radio Merseyside about five years ago, we were told it would be a paperless office. At the end of every day every desk would be cleared. There was to be no personal storage space because we wouldn’t need it. There would be no personal items on any surface, and only “on message” corporate posters and notices on the walls.

It didn’t work. My desk is far from the messiest in the building but it currently labours under piles of papers, stacks of CDs, a half-finished bottle of Diet Coke and assorted personal items. Other desks around me are decorated with family photos, thank you cards from listeners, and dirty coffee mugs.

The next generation of BBC offices take the theory one stage further. Much of the office space in the BBC buildings at Media City Salford has a radical “clear desk” policy. Individuals have a laptop and a mobile phone which are kept in a locker, and each day they collect these essentials of their work and sit at any available desk. We’ll see how it works out in practice.

It seems to be part of our human nature to be nest-builders. We like to have a space that is personal and is ours. We enjoy our own familiar form of chaos. As those who bear the creative nature of God we live to create places that have meaning and personality. I’ve been told a few times recently that Advent is the time to declutter – to clear out the messiness of our lives and strive for something simpler.

I’m sorry, but I’m having none of it. For me Advent is not a time to banish the mess but to enjoy it. Advent is a creative time, a time when life is enriched by fresh insights into the grace of God, bursting into being from the divine imagination. Advent is the coming of the new world. It’s the new creation emerging from the messiness of human life, bearing the hallmark of the dynamism of God. It’s not tidy or sterile but God’s design emerging from our human malleability.

So don’t tell me to get rid of my clutter. This clutter is my life in messy piles, the seedbed of my best ideas.

Lord, just as your Son came into our chaos, make use of my ragged edges, my unformed ideas. Lord, bless my mess and make it yours.

4 Responses to Time for a declutter?

  1. Pam Hollinshead says:

    Thanks for your comments Wayne – I found them most helpful as I am surrounded by clutter – yes messy piles which I’ve always seen as enormous mountains to be reduced to tidiness, which in reality is not me at all –
    So your prayer resonates within my soul and I shall make it mine this Advent.

    Lord, just as your Son came into our chaos, make use of my ragged edges, my unformed ideas. Lord, bless my mess and make it yours.

  2. I love my ‘messy den’ as well – but my wife is not so keen. I’m forever losing ‘stuff’ under the piles of paper, but the occasional ‘treasure hunt’ can reveal hidden gems. That’s the beauty of a ‘mess’ – it has the ability to constantly surprise and entertain! Besides, I’m too old to change my ways now …

  3. Amjad Yoosuf says:

    Good Morning Wayne,

    It’s sad to hear you’re leaving. I would just like to say that your
    contributions to the community are huge and you will leave a gap that
    will be hard to fill. The children who attend our madrasah are always
    full of praise for Val and the youth club thats run at Dovedale Baptist church. I wish you and the family all the best at your new post in Huddersfield.

    If there’s ever anything I can help with please do feel free to ask.

    Thanking you on behalf of Liverpool Mosque & Islamic Institute for your service to our community,

    Amjad

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