My writing is still rusty. I feel like I’ve lost whatever writing edge I used to have. I’m not sure why. I don’t pick it up often enough I guess. My brain/life feels too preoccupied lately . . . but here goes:
Home from vacation yesterday. It’s bittersweet feeling.
I want to learn something from the experience of coming home after being away, instead of just being bummed that I have to come home. I loved our vacation. I love traveling, adventures, seeing the world with my family. I love witnessing the beauty of God’s creation. I did not miss my bed last week nearly as much as I thought I would. I did not miss my decorated house. I did not miss my closet full of clothes. Yet when I am home for long enough, I catch myself thinking, gee, I really need to go out and get one more thing to wear to that thing… or hmm, this wall needs one more accent piece. blech.
Coming home after living in a simple cabin was like coming home to a palace. A palace loaded with stuff I don’t need. I have this feeling now and then, looking around my palace, this feeling that makes me wonder, can’t I just get rid of all it? All it’s trappings? Can’t I just be a freakin monk? But then looking around at my treasures, my jealous materialism fights back and whispers, “But you can’t sell that, it’s one-of-a-kind, beautiful, and you got such a good deal on it! Seriously – I can say that about so much of my junk. I don’t buy anything unless I think it’s absolutely beautiful and I can get a really good stinkin’ deal on it. Yeesh. So what would happen if I sold everything and lived in a house with nothing on the walls? Would I go nuts living in such a sterile environment? Probably not. Oh! I am inspired by simple living! The culture that always has to have one more thing to be satisfied is not a culture I want to be part of. But how I want an iPhone! Can you believe me? Do you see my inner conflict? Wow.
Anyway. When I have less, I am more free to give. I like that. I have more time available to give (time that I am not spending taking care of my possessions) and I have more money available to give. And with simple living comes portability. The less I have, the simpler it is for me to up and go — wherever, whenever. Andrew and I often lay in bed talking about faraway places we would like to go for long periods of time, and it pretty much always brings to my mind the issue of what to do with all our stuff. Rent a storage unit? So we can PAY to have our junk sitting around for who knows how long? Blah. No thanks.
How did I acquire all this stuff anyway? Easy answer. I desire things thinking they will make me happy. Seriously, as shallow and cliché as that sounds, it’s just as true for me as it is for most everyone else, if we wear the right clothing, we will feel better about ourselves because we are more acceptable to the “right” crowd. For some people that means having a coach purse, and for some that means sewing your own clothing from the cotton you harvested from your backyard. I want to say none of it matters! Happiness can NOT come from what I wear, or what I own. I want to do more than say it. I want to live it.
Also, happiness can NOT come from where I travel. It’s true that Andrew and I both have a serious case of un-directed wanderlust. Our drooling tongues hang from our mouths as we dream about taking off in a jet plane for an adventure far away. But that will not make us happy either. In all of this I keep praying for contentment for where I am right now, and what I have. May I be content with as much or as little as I have, and with the place I am for as long as God has me here.
I guess it all boils down to contentment. Being content while at the same time relentlessly striving for a Christ-like life, whatever it takes.