My Annual Anxious Autumnal Angst

My Annual Anxious Autumnal Angst October 4, 2018

Turning enthusiastically away from politics this morning, I wonder, am I losing my mind? How is it that I hadn’t, heretofore, noticed the counter-fury of my nemesis, that timorous minimalism? What is that? you ask, not having paid special attention to the fashion trend of the moment. That would be maximalism. Have I remarked upon it here? I have the hovering trace of a memory that evaporates wistfully in a cloud of links as I wander from one site to another. Anyway, this is a lovely article. And the best line is this one:

As with so many things, intention is all: What separates a Collyer brother from a Carolina Irving is deliberate curation. That, and tidiness: Maximalism is never chaos, it just hints at it—think charming eccentricity versus a stay in a mental hospital. A Philip Treacy hat, if you will, versus drinking a bunch of drain cleaner.

Really, I have found that which my soul loves. It is not about having too many things, see, it is not about excess, it most certainly not about hoarding. Don’t even silently mouth that dread word with your lips. You needn’t slightly raise that eyebrow. It is about curation. Which is a grave and virtuous distinction, especially when you read elsewhere that the maximalist cannot have too many books.

Really, I wish I could gently press Kon Mari into a fat overstuffed effulgently upholstered chair and explain in clear and plain language how much getting rid of all my things—even and especially because I didn’t do it—could not possibly have made me happy. On the contrary, having all the things I want to have piled tastefully here and there makes me at least as happy as I am ever able to be.

Also, God—the very cosmic measure of boho chic—is on my side. The dawning of a true and burnished autumn is upon us, and it looks like this year He is not going to disappoint. You never can be sure, of course. Last year was a dismal failure of color and light. All the leaves turned a dull brown and fell flatly to the ground. I felt sure this was going to happen. I knew, persecuted Cassandra-like in my spirit—I kept saying but no one listened until it happened.

Really, you have only to stop and marvel at the autumn leaves drifting to the ground, to cast up your gaze at one of those lurid, appalling sunsets where deep rose has been jumbled together against a rusty gold and streaks of deep blue scrape across the sky, to wander by a school yard as the last bell sounds its faithful call to see that God is a God of abundance, of extravagance even. Just because I so often feel poor does not mean that he shares or affirms my inclinations and sense. As I subtract and narrow myself and my way, as I throw away bits of paper and bag up toys to unload onto some other poor soul, as I try to get a handle on my strangely luxuriant October garden, he thwarts me at every turn, giving more of everything than I was sure I needed.

The author of that piece asks, “One should not need stuff to feel anchored to the world, perhaps. But is it a crime to like it? To let the patterns and things and textures around you do a bit of the talking, sometimes?” I would go one further. It is not even a sin. It is the means God provides for us to be tethered to the sanity of his grace. We are not meant to be mind over matter. And that is why I will fight to the bitterness of death to somehow a-fix big glorious angry flowers all over my kitchen cupboards even against the mean, inconsequential, and perverse opinions of my obstinately narrow-minded husband. Because CS Lewis said so, somewhere. Gosh I love wallpaper, and fall, and knickknacks, and books. I will now arise and go rearrange and dust them.


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