Monday, March 29, 2010

An Unburdened Journey

Yesterday, I asked my daughter for some ideas on how I could rearrange our living room. It wasn’t long before we were moving furniture here and there. We never did arrive at any new arrangement before she had to leave, so the house stayed that way. Later in the afternoon, Jim and I tried to figure something out. We found ourselves hauling furniture from one room to another and then back again as we tried to make sense of the chaos. We finally came to the conclusion that the best arrangement was the one we had originally. So everything was put back in place. (The upside is that we were able to vacuum in places that really, really needed it!!)

But as I sat looking at all this furniture and “stuff” we had; things we have acquired over our almost 40 years of marriage, I realized how much of a burden I let these things become to me. We have a beautiful 30 year old Pennsylvania House end table that is too big for our small townhouse. But how can I give it up. I love it! Or my 1970 Noritake china – my wedding pattern, Lorelei – which we rarely ever use anymore because we’re much too casual these days. How can I get rid of that? One of my granddaughters may want it someday.

As much as I would love to lighten our load, free up space and simplify our lives, I struggle with my love affair with my stuff. This is my current battlefront. And my strongest weapon right now is the book I’m reading, The Sacred Journey by Charles Foster. His (much boiled down) premise is that we are hardwired to be pilgrims and that only when we are pilgrimaging are we truly happy. Just as Jesus walked the land with nothing extra to anchor him down, we, too should journey that way. Not dragging a 30 year old Pennsylvania House end table with us – no matter how beautiful it may be.

Obviously, I need furniture and there is nothing inherently wrong about wanting beautiful pieces. (Jesus was a master carpenter, remember.) But it becomes a problem when I lose perspective and make it so much a part of me that I can’t let it go or I let it dictate my days. It’s very hard to make progress on my journey if I’m worrying about and tending to my furniture.

So I’ll give myself today to put the rest of my stuff back in place without letting it color my mood. Then I’ll return to making lap quilts and focusing on my journey. I’ve got a long trip ahead of me.

(ps - Anyone want a beautiful Pennsylvania House end table?)


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