My new favorite activity is purging my home. We’ve lived here for 44 years so, as you can imagine, it’s a really big job.

I’m getting rid of gifts that I received years ago – but can’t remember who gave them to me. I’m getting rid of things that I stashed away because I never really liked them.

I’m realizing that it’s okay to have empty nooks and crannies, that empty shelves are fine.

Many things are easy to toss. What I’m lingering over are the sweet notes from my children and the artwork from my grandchildren. Most of the other stuff? I trash or donate.

I’m finished with the bedrooms, and I love being upstairs. The rooms are so light and airy. And uncluttered. It’s a great feeling.

As I find myself immersed in this process, I am discovering that there is something more important than getting rid of unused wedding gifts from 46 years ago.

I’m trying to purge myself from a spirit of un-forgiveness; a spirit filled with bitter memories and unkind thoughts.

I’m finding that much more difficult than tossing out 40-year-old serving trays.

It’s amazing how we accumulate clutter in our hearts, and how we protect it from erosion. I’m 70 years old, and I can still rattle off injustices — large and small — from my life. I hold them so tightly they almost prop me up.

I’m realizing that they take up a lot of space and that I need to purge them, too.

But how?

I think by truly and sincerely forgiving. And then letting go.

That’s so hard. Sometimes, it’s like climbing a mountain. But that’s our challenge.

Remember the story about Peter asking Jesus how often he needed to forgive a brother who sinned against him. Peter said, “As many as seven times?”

That must have sounded like a huge number to the fisherman.

Jesus said no. “I say to you, not seven times but seventy times seven.”

Divine advice to a simple human. That sounds impossible to do, but that’s our command.

When we put our minds to it, when we really forgive, we are purging ourselves of terrible clutter.

And what happens when we do that? We can recognize that we really are Temples of the Holy Spirit. That we really are filled with the Fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity and faithfulness.

Purging my house has been time-consuming. It’s been intentional. And it’s been rewarding.

Maybe it’s time for another kind of purging; one that would bring its own rewards.