Friday, September 10, 2010

Thoughts on Moving and the Collection of Stuff

I wonder when mankind began collecting stuff. I don't think our very early ancestors had to many worries when it came to moving around the land. Favorite spear for hunting and hide for keeping warm were probably pretty much their only concern. Later they had to figure how to keep and carry their fire, no need for a moving company yet. When Moses led the Jewish people out of Egypt their bags were packed and they were ready to go, the taxi was waiting it's blowing, sorry wrong thoughts. They had their sandals on and their stomachs were full and the staff was in their hand. No extra stuff on their move, nothing to slow them down or distract them. So, when did we start with this collecting of stuff?

It only took the movers four hours to unload their truck, it will take us four weeks to unpack the boxes. I look around and so many things we have because they bring back a special or important memory. End tables that have been around for fifty or sixty years, they look old and worn, yet we will keep them and pass them on because they have significance for us. The same is true of countless pieces of glassware, pottery, pictures and the special item that brings a smile or a tear. Going through some items that belonged to Donna's mom have been especially touching. A bag of quilt squares that are close to one hundred years old, passed down to the fourth generation.

I spent some time questioning the need to hold on to things. The question bothered me for some time in light of the fact that January 22, 1997 our house burnt to the ground and with it 23 years of precious belongings, baby pictures, school work from the children, baskets made by hand by a lady in a leper colony who had only a part of a thumb. All turned to mud and ash. A few things survived because I had left them in one of the barns.

I would like to say that I am a man who lives a very simple and uncluttered life, that might be my desire but it is not my reality. There are many items that hold a great amount of significance for me. I guess as long as I keep them in proper perspective it is fine. I don't worship or turn anything into an Icon, a few things could come close. I have a three volume set of sermons preached by John Wesley that is priceless. They were printed at the turn of the 19th century and never read cover to cover because many of the pages remain uncut. Those books I hold very dear, yet I know their place.

I guess I will always have stuff and will always think I have too much stuff and will always think I should have less stuff.

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