My sweet wife has decided I need to clean out my basement because to her it is a mess. First of all, how did the rest of the house become her house and now the basement belongs to me? I always thought they were attached, but I’m finding out in female logic when something needs to be worked on, cleaned up or carried off it changes possession. Sort of like my hunting closet, my driveway and my gutters need to be cleaned, blown off or painted.

Well, I’ve been surveying my basement and cataloging all the precious and priceless treasures and artifacts I have stored in it. This great hall of masculinity contains my four-wheeler, riding lawn mower and tools (that is when I can find them), plus my tree stand and deer cleaning hoist. Where in the world did she ever get the idea I need to get rid of any of these “have-to-have” items? I would never ask her to toss out her scrap booking materials, art supplies or large and extensive picture albums. Trust me, I’m not that crazy because I wouldn’t even hint at doing that.

I also have a few other essentials saved in case I ever need them. I have two old weed eaters that don’t work but I might need spare parts one day so they’re important. There is a large stack of assorted lumber, in no particular order, just waiting for me to use in a positive way on some future project. Along with these items I have various garden hoses, 20 cans of paint in different stages of drying out and all the summer stuff we use on the lake. 

According to my lovely bride I should go through this “junk” and throw most of it away. My heavens, that’s like saying I ought to discard old friends just because I need the space. Every man knows you save things you might need one day because the minute you throw it away is when you need it. Even the parts for my old 1968 Motorola TV are safely put away in a box somewhere if I could just remember where. And who knows when I might need a vacuum tube to fix a TV? They shouldn’t be that hard to find because they’re in the same box with my rabbit ears antenna with the tinfoil wrapped around them.

OK, I’ve started the process of cleaning and rearranging all this stuff. There is a little more of it than I realized as I get into the project. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a bear living in all of this clutter. So far all I’ve found is a mummified squirrel and a spider the size of a saucer. Poor ole spider he had no idea why he was being evicted from such a nice safe environment. Either he got evicted or I did, so he went out in the general cleanup.

Have you ever thought your life could get like this basement? We can store old prejudices, hurts and feelings away without ever realizing how they are accumulating. Then one day we open the basement door of our hearts and there they all are. They got there so subtly we didn’t even feel them building up. When we come to the Lord and lay our lives on the altar, it is a catharsis of cleansing. Christ empties all that emotional garbage out and makes us clean again. Now that is cleansing we all need from time to time, but we have to be willing to open the door and let Him come in and begin.

Uh oh, it seems I was about to throw away some of my wife’s things out of the basement. Now I’m told “we” need to be more careful about “her “ things in “my” basement. Hey, I just found an old truck transmission. All right!

Dr. Gerald Hallmark is a retired minister living in Alexander City whose column appears here each Friday.