I’ll be moving soon and thanks to friends and a VERY PATIENT brother-in-law (a prince among men), I am going to pack my belongings, load them, and meet up with them in Manhattan, Kansas, in August.
There is nothing like several moves in a short season to remind you that you don’t need (to pack and haul) a truckload of stuff.
When I first sold our home and moved to Georgia to serve with a bunch of people-who-actively-love, I had a whole bungalow of things to either move or give away.
Out went the sage green sofa that Kenan and I had worked together to find with its hours of comfort, Christmas tree gazing, and the memory of him test-driving couches all over town.
Away went most of the kitchen stuff from our mustard-and-ketchup-colored command central; the tools that Madi had used to make homemade bagels, marzipan snowmen, and that she and Kenan had used to make Christmas dinner when I got stuck in a snow-packed Zoo unexpectedly.
I kept the Legos.
It was so hard to divest myself…our family of all of those things and the colors on the walls and papers from kindergarten and the herbs and flowers that we had cultivated on our property.
I could not take the door jam that showed our growth and the marks of our friends who stood and got measured there, too. My friend, the artiste Rachel, came over to paint that single piece of story-telling wood one day while I cried.
You know, it wasn’t the loss of the marked up door jam that made me cry…it was knowing that as time continues its westward march, our kids launch, our relationships change, and the familiar becomes a memory.
I cried because I knew that I was already missing these people who had lived and lunched and laughed with me.
In all of the whittling down and preparing to move, I had a epiphany:
I would keep only the best stories.
This time, I will keep only what I want to haul up and down stairs, into a truck, across a few states, into temporary storage, and soon – into another tiny home. And the best stories.
I have an abundance of good stories.
People and places that have made their imprint in my soul.
Some stories are Daniel in the Den of the Lions and some are like wandering in the desert.
But they’re my stories and they are my abundance.
Well…that’s not completely true.
The people: kids, family, friends, fellow-adventurers, and the folks met briefly on a train…they are my abundance – my wealth.
And I don’t mind having so much less stuff crowding out space that could better be filled with their presence, quiet, adventure…real abundance.
We live in such a fear of “not enough” so we jam-pack our lives with extraneous baggage and hoard what is so easy to share.
We hide our fears behind our stuff and call it saving up for a rainy day or “just-in-case.” But when the rainy days come, we just add more crap to our lives when sharing it and making space might help solve some of our heartbreak.
“I am not enough.” (so I will prove that I am more than enough and isolate myself in busyness and exhaustion)
“Will God show up and provide the enough I need?” (we hedge our bets and forget to wait on him – preferring to flimsily fix our stuff instead)
“I don’t have enough.” (so we accumulate 10 times the stuff we could ever use and who wants to go through all that flotsam when we die?)
“I’m not smart enough.” (I’ll pretend to be smart so no one else suspects how scared and clueless I am)
“I am lonely and don’t have enough friends.” (I’ll be super-busy or forgo my NO when someone comes on too strong)
“If I only had enough new clothes than I could have more friends.” (so our closets are filled with cheap substitutes for real life and crazy good friends)
“If I add this tchotchke to my house, it will be perfect and I will finally be something.” (buying stuff is easier than doing the hard work of living well)
You get the picture.
I’m sure I’m not the only one with the fear of looking like a dork.
But this move and this hard season has further solidified in me that what I have is not my story.
Who I am and the many “whos” that I love and enjoy and our adventures or quiet moments together…that’s my story.
And the boxes of photographs that will one day be made into albums for the kids
or the box of kids’ books that I’ve kept
and Julie’s fake trees in the corner
and the wooden bird the kids and I got at the beach
are just the few illustrations I keep to remind me to live out this life in abundance and not stuff.
Wherever you are and in whatever circumstance, abandon your scarcity and embrace the wealth of the people and adventures that await your messy vulnerable and unique love.
But remember, you must learn to play well with others. Among family and friends (any relationship) there is no room for entitlement, abuse, selfishness, or shame. We must all work on our stuff and ask for help to heal so that – perhaps – in our healing, our wealth of life will grow and the people around our table or sipping sweet tea on the front porch or in our quiet…will grow.
You are not lacking.
You are more than enough.
Do you like the photo of the handmade greenhouse above? Read the story behind the people who made it, Lamon Luther. Building more than just cool furniture and a space to rest, http://www.lamonluther.com/pages/our-story.