.           all rights belong to Tanis Harms –
.             refer to

HOARDER BURIED ALIVE – written by Tanis Harms
TOPIC:        obedience, cleanliness
SCRIPTURE:    Matt.23:23-28; John 13:5-10; 1 Cor.6:19;
.             2 Cor.7:1; 2 Tim.2:20-23; 1 John 1:5-2:17
Style:        allegory/conversation:  a counselor helps
.             a stubborn hoarder see how they are hanging
.             on to sins which is making a mess
.             of his/her life.
Set & Props:  PEOPLE dressed like garbage or in black,
.             necklace


(HOARDER is on stage, surrounded by PERSONS 1-5,
who crouch down on the floor like garbage.
COUNSELOR enters and tries to approach HOARDER,
but can’t because of all the bodies lying around.)

C    Hi, I’m Gloria.  And you are Mark?

(You can change the names appropriately.
COUNSELOR reaches way over PERSONS 1-5 to shake the hand
of HOARDER.  COUNSELOR then looks around at the PERSONS.)

C    So what do we have here?

H    This is my home.

C    Yes, I understand that you were given a big house-

H    To keep forever.

C    That’s right.  What a lovely gift.

H    It is.  And no one can take it away from me.
.    It’s mine.

C    I understand that.  What I don’t understand -
.    is why you have let it become so – messy.

H    It’s not messy.  Didn’t you see the outside?
.    I like to keep my lawn cut, clean and green.

C    The outside looks very lovely.  But, the           2
.    inside does not represent the outside at all.

H    That’s why I don’t like to have people over
.    any more.

C    So you have just written off all people?
.    What about the one who gave you the house?

H    Well, sometimes I’ll invite him over, and we
.    sit on the porch and talk for a few minutes.

C    Well, the one who gave you the house told me
.    that you were given some house care guidelines.

H    Yes.  I – have them here somewhere.

(HOARDER looks around, unable to move.)

C    You do realize, the one who gave you the house
.    really wants you to ENJOY the house.  They had it
.    professionally cleaned for you, so you could
.    just move right in and start enjoying the house
.    right away, and have guests over, and-

H    Yes, and I still have that - freedom.

C    So why have you chosen to collect all this garbage
.    and clutter up your house and your life?

H    I don’t understand what you’re talking about.

C    You are a hoarder.

H    No I’m not.

C    You were given this big, clean house, and now,
.    you have cluttered it up so it has made it difficult
.    for you to even move around, or do anything.

H    I don’t have a problem.

C    But - look around you.

H    (does not look)  I don’t see any issue.

C    Do you at least notice the smell?
.                                                       3
H    No!  I don’t notice anything out of place.

C    You have a lot of – garbage.

H    Everything is in its place.

C    Well, there is garbage – in your “place” –
.    but it should not be here in the first place.

H    Hey, these are all my things.

C    Can you not see that you have a problem?

H    It’s my house - I have my space – I’m good.

C    You have had this garbage around you for so long,
.    you can no longer see it.  But it’s all ugly
.    and smelly.

H    You get used to it.

C    Exactly, but why do you want to?

H    I’m still able to function.

C    Barely.  You may have your space, but –
.    are you using it wisely?  Are you really happy?
.    You know, it is a very good idea to houseclean.

H    I don’t see the point.  It’s just work.

C    Well, the longer you let the garbage pile up,
.    the more work it will be to clean it up.
.    You seem very grumpy.  Do you really like
.    living this way?

H    (has difficulty admitting the need for help)
.    No!  No, I’m not happy!  Not at all.

C    Then, you’ll let me help you clean this up?
.    Don’t you want to be free to move around
.    your entire house - without falling over things,
.    or getting hurt?

H    Yes.  Yes I do want that.

C    Well, let’s get started then.                      4

H    You must think I’m such a terrible person.
.    You probably think that I don’t even deserve
.    this house.

C    We all make mistakes.

H    Do you think I will lose the house?

C    No, the house is very definitely yours - forever.
.    It just needs - a good cleaning.  You know,
.    it’s just so much easier to clean up a mess
.    as soon as it happens.  (sighing)  Now, let’s see,
.    what is this here?

(COUNSELOR picks up PERSON 1 [PERSON 1 stands up].)

P 1  I need more things – I’m going to take more things
.    and lie about it.  (sees & reaches for C’s necklace)
.    I like that necklace.  I want that necklace.
.    Give it to me.  It must be mine.

H    (referring to PERSON 1)  I might need that.

C    This represents stealing from your neighbors.

H    They weren’t using any of those things.

C    It’s stealing and lying.  It’s wrong and it’s
.    got to go.  You need to stop stealing and lying.
.    It is really making a mess out of your life.
.    Can’t you see how it is impacting the relationships
.    around you?  As a result, no one can trust you.

H    Okay.  Okay.  That can go.

(COUNSELOR gently pushes PERSON 1 toward the exit.)

C    How does that feel?

H    Kind of - good - actually.  I’m just wondering
.    what I can replace that with?

C    How about – giving?  Giving to people, and
.    doing good things for people, instead of taking
.    and instead of demanding.
.                                                       5
H    That sounds like a better alternative.

C    Okay.  Moving on.  What about this one?

(COUNSELOR picks up PERSON 2 who looks at HOARDER.)

P 2  There’s a really bad party tonight.  I know
.    you wanna go.  Everything you could possibly
.    imagine will be there.  No one needs to know.

H    I – I want to keep that.

C    Is it really helping you?  Does it really
.    build up your life in a positive way?

H    No, no that really messes me up.  It’s sometimes
.    kind of fun while I’m doing it, but afterwards,
.    I feel just horrible.  Like a complete mess!

(PERSON 2 reaches out and grabs HOARDER by the throat
and looks threateningly into HOARDER’S eyes.)

P 2  Don’t let go of me.  You need me!  I’m fun!

H    It really is like a chain around my throat –
.    choking the life out of me.

C    So you want to get rid of it?

H    Yes.  Please help me get rid of it.

(COUNSELOR gently pushes PERSON 2 toward the exit.)

C    We can get you extra help with that, so you can
.    live a pure and holy life.  But this is something
.    you really need to work on and pray about.

H    I get that.

C    Okay, what’s this?

(COUNSELOR picks up PERSON 3.)

P 3  (to C)  You stupid person, you think you know
.    so much, but you have the I.Q. of a farm animal.
.    And you certainly don’t know how to dress yourself.
.                                                       6
H    I have to keep that.

C    Why?!

H    Ah, well, I use that to try to feel better about
.    myself.

C    And exactly how does that work?

H    If I put others down, I - look better?

C    Really?

P 3  (to C)  Of course, you idiot!  Do you want to fight
.    about it, huh?  I can fight with the best of them.
.    I’m in every debate possible.

C    (to H)  Wouldn’t you prefer to have peace
.    in your life instead?  You’d look better too,
.    if you were a faithful friend who encouraged others.

H    I can see how that would be better.

C    So it can go?

H    Yes.

(COUNSELOR gently pushes PERSON 3 toward the exit,
then picks up PERSON 4 who becomes for angry.)

P 4  Don’t touch me!  Don’t you dare touch me!
.    I hate anybody who thinks they can touch me!
.    No one will ever touch me again.  I will hurt you
.    before you can ever hurt me.

H    Oh, I can’t get rid of that.

C    Why?

H    It holds a lot of memories for me.

C    What sort of memories?

H    Bad ones!  People have been terrible to me.
.    Certain people have done terrible things to hurt me.

C    You need to forgive them, and get rid of           7
.    this hatred, bitterness and fear.

H    It’s my protection against bad people.

C    Just how does that protect you?

H    If I don’t let anybody get close to me,
.    then I won’t ever get hurt.

C    But you’re not punishing THOSE people at all,
.    you are only punishing yourself, and any good person
.    that might be trying to get close to you.

H    That doesn’t make any sense.

C    It does.  By pushing everyone away, you won’t be
.    able to enjoy the good relationships that
.    could develop.  AND if you are hurtful to others
.    before they can hurt you – then there will be even
.    more people who will just want to hurt you back.

P 4  (to H with both fear & anger)  Don’t listen to her.
.    She doesn’t understand how good it feels to
.    hate people.  Right?  You can’t trust anybody!

H    (to C)  I’m starting to see that I can trust you.

P 4  Nooooooo.

H    (to C)  I mean, I can really see that you ARE
.    trying to help me.  I suppose it really is worth
.    the risk getting to know people.

C    Right, because what is the worst that could happen?

P 4  (to H)  You could get hurt!

H    (to C)  I COULD get hurt, but – then I might see
.    that those people - probably have problems
.    in THEIR lives, maybe even similar to the ones
.    that I’ve experienced...  Out it goes!

(COUNSELOR gently pushes PERSON 4 toward the exit.)

H    Wow, that really felt good.

C    That just leaves this one.                         8

(COUNSELOR picks up PERSON 5.)

P 5  (brags to C)  I have a better job than you,
.    and I have earned a lot of money, so I’m so
.    much better than you.  I drive a fast sports car,
.    and go on fancy trips, so I’m way better
.    than most people.  Nee-ner-nee-ner.

H    No way!  I definitely need that!  It’s mine.
.    I work very hard for that.  It shows people
.    all my accomplishments.  And I’m not done yet.

C    That is pride and arrogance, and it’s wrong.
.    THIS garbage smells most of all.

H    Everyday - I go outside and pick up the garbage
.    on my lawn so it will look neat.  I even pick up
.    the little bits that other people throw on my yard.

C    Doing little things like that - will not compensate
.    for the other bad things that you do.

H    Pride is a good thing.

C    Not this kind of pride.

P 5  (to C)  I have earned degrees and awards
.    for being the best.  I have proven myself to be
.    better than anyone.  Everything that I have done –
.    I have worked hard for.  And just look at my house!

C    (to H)  You were given this house.  You should be
.    thankful, and give credit where credit is due.

H    But this one is so close to my heart.  It has
.    too much sentimental value.

P 5  (grandly)  I have created the world around me
.    and I am invincible and oh – so – great.

H    You’re right.  I hear it, and I can see – it is
.    the smelliest garbage of them all.

(COUNSELOR gently pushes PERSON 5 toward the exit.)

H    (sighs)  This really feels good.  Thank you        9
.    for helping.  I mean, really, thank you.

C    You’re welcome.

H    And I am very thankful for the one who gave me
.    this house.  I really need to show my appreciation
.    more.  AND I need to take care of it as best
.    as I can.

C    So you won’t let it get that messy ever again?

H    No!  I’ve learned a lesson here.  I’m definitely
.    going to try to clean up the garbage as it happens.