Monday, 8 October 2012

Its just stuff...Action oriented faith





Another lapse in writing. My apologies to those of you wondering about our lives. I have a lot to share but I'll try and be concise. Today is Thanksgiving. My children are 5800 kilometers away celebrating this holiday by inviting strangers, foreigners and friends into their home for turkey dinner. Its so bitter sweet. My Thanksgiving Day consists of an emotional banquet of empty nest , family pride, sadness, thankfulness, faith, exuberant joy, admiration , quietness, and uncertainty....a lot of reflection to chew on.  And yes....one feels stuffed to the point of couch reclining.

Its a good time to write though...but  it can be dangerous for me when I'm feeling raw and wearing my verbal blog on my sleeve. I've had friends say " Wow your blog seemed really negative" or " You are a tortured soul".

I have been back in Canada 123 days or 4.1 months and am thankful to say that its not getting any easier...ie; putting down roots and returning to the way it was. The last 123 days have consisted of getting rid of everything we own. God clearly spoke to us in Haiti about stuff and mortgages and every other weight tying us to this world. We told the kids to take what they wanted, and everything else had to go. The last to go is some real estate but it was listed for sale last week.

Haiti taught me huge lessons and probably the most important was that I really did not believe what I believed I believed. My actions were proof enough. All my talk about ministering to the poor, fighting for justice, taking care of my environment, living simply and avoiding consumerism....it was all a wishful life. It was all admiration for a lifestyle that I myself did not possess. So...the past 123 days have been putting action to the  beliefs that I want to live out. Jesus has a lot to say about giving away stuff, about sharing, about taking nothing with you, about not knowing where your going to lay your head, about ministering to the poor the widow, the sick and the captive. I am trying to listen to Jesus and live a life that ensures that my brothers and sisters living in extreme poverty in developing countries REALLY matter; Its affected my spending, my giving, my eating, and even my recycling ( which I need to work on more).


A few weeks ago we had our third yard sale consisting of the remains of the day : stuff that didn't sell at the last 2 sales, and  the stuff that was added to the pile hesitantly ( in other words the hard to let go of stuff). Rick and I found ourselves grumpy with each other... resenting the fact that  this thing we were selling now for 10 bucks cost us over a hundred when we needed it . I found myself telling stories about an item to the purchaser...."I've had those glasses for several years. My great uncle gave them to me "... My daughter painted that..she's a beautiful artist in Alberta"...." that was a wedding gift...in fact my husband and I have been married 25 years this week". The people rifling through my stuff only listened politely. To them it was a deal...to me it was a memory. The clincher came moments later when a well dressed woman picked up an antique tea cup I had been carrying with me for 25 years. As she handled it, and investigated its markings I felt compelled to give her a little cup bio and said " you know that cup is special. It was given to me at my bridal shower 25 years ago by a women who had it given to her at her bridal shower and she had been married for 40 years...so it makes it quite old "...the women tolerated my ramble and said in a bland uninterested reply " Oh that's nice..would you take 3.00 dollars for it?" It was at that very moment that I watched a homeless man walk past me with one of my daughter's bracelets hanging from his wrist. That's when it hit me.  I went into the house, put my back against the wall and slid to the floor in tears. Why was it so hard this time? It felt like I was losing part of myself, part of my history and memories and resenting wasted money and time. Kind of this love hate relationship with stuff...

I know friends , family and colleagues are watching on with deep concern as we unload our stuff. People get concerned that we are not preparing financially for the future or that we're being a little irrational and maybe even irresponsible. The past 10 years has been a chase for responsible financial sustainability that in reality we will never catch.  In the midst of the working, the studying, the buying and the selling, there has been a persistent call  to something else and a deep dissatisfaction with this type of  life.


.                              ............We've decided to cut our losses and follow Jesus.


2 comments:

  1. Moving to say the least. You hit the nail on the head, we are a wealthy nation..even those we would consider poor or lower class. We rely on "stuff" to define us and are never content with what we have. Our society is always looking for the next best gadget/gizmo to make our life easier yet it gets more complicated and harder. We recently sold our 2200sq ft house and moved into a 1200 and gave away 60% of our belongings. People marvel how we would do this (three kids and two adults in one tiny bathroom) no tv/no closets but that means no room for excess stuff and no tv to clutter our mind. Our priorities were way off and was are finally starting to truly enjoy life...simplified...we do have a long way to go but it was a start. Thanks for sharing this...I still need constant reminders especially when I see others with new things and have weak moments..

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