In some monasteries, they would give away any food left in the house at the end of the day, in order not to lose that radical dependency on God's provision.
I remember reading in Rumer Godden's "In This House of Brede" that the nuns would save little scraps of paper in order to have something to write on. Can you imagine not being absolutely flooded with excess paper... in fact, needing to save backs of envelopes and the like in order to have something to jot notes on once in a while?
I'm not emptying out our pantry and I doubt if I'll get to the stage of needing to save paper scraps for quite a while, but I am really trying to get to the root of the clutter issue, not just pull ineffectually at the stalks and flowers.
Perhaps this doesn't quite relate --from Msr Charles Pope
Desert Father Story on the poverty of words: Abba Moses lifted his hands in the air and said, “Every word about God is more of a distortion than a description!” Bewildered his students said, “But teacher, when you speak to us of God you use words!” At this Abba Moses lifted his hands again and laughed and said, “When I speak of God, listen less to the words and more to the silence between the words.”But I notice that when I'm simply cleaning the house -- scrubbing, vacuuming, shining -- I can almost contemplate. These actions come with a kind of interior silence. I don't necessarily like cleaning, but it's repetitive and has a rhythm. But when sorting through junk, rearranging it, storing it, the stuff talks to me. I'm not crazy, really! But don't things talk in their way? They state their presence visually and tactilely. They say something -- they have to, in order to justify their continued presence.
There are some times when they say things that are good. Almost all my books say good things to me, and almost all our old photos. But even when they are saying good things, it's a lot of noise when there is too much.
Then there are some things that don't really say good things. When I have a surplus of something, it's like a clamor. I feel that way about office supplies right now. I just have so much -- more than all of us together could use in a year.
I would really like to let a lot of it go and just listen to the silence.
I fear the waste and being without the surplus, but then, it might be good to have to scrounge a little and anyway, the waste won't really be that much if I don't buy things I don't need any more.
So -- just thinking.