Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cleanliness, Meet Godliness

I have always wanted a Zen desk of just my black MacBook and a single magnificent bloom in a simple vase, and I am pleased to report that, at home at least, I am close. At work, I still have a long way to go, as too much crosses the desk there, most of it generated by other people, but I will get there,

The start of the Jewish New Year always makes me think about godliness. I do not believe in a conventional God, but I believe in beauty, of which order is a subset. And I believe that the closer we get to achieving the beautiful (and by that I do not mean the merely pretty) in our lives, the closer we get to fulfilling the commandment in Leviticus 19:2: "You shall be holy; for I, the Lord your God, am holy."

Every day, every moment, we have the opportunity to make ourselves b’tzelem elohim, in the image of God, and order is one way to get there, as are kindness and mercy and love and justice.

I have occasionally derided organizer porn, including any issue of Real Simple or the Container Store catalog, because of the tendency to look at them and dream but not do. But I think they represent the yearning of many of us, especially women, for order in a messy world and for a way to make life cooperate with our vision for it.

This, we vow, will be the year we achieve calm by having a place for everything and everything in its place, which in my experience means you have to have either more places (hello, Ikea) or less of everything (are you there, Housing Works?).

Forgiveness and truth are sure to follow.

(Photo from Design Within Reach.)

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