Monday, October 4, 2010
I've been away from the computer for awhile due to another moving day. My Mom has been in a nursing home for almost a year and am moving into her house to help pay the bills there.
Moving is always a reflective time. You pack up your whole life into cardboard boxes salvaged from the grocery store, throw them into a truck and cart them to a new place to be unpacked. If you are organized, you get to view your life as a pile of boxes sitting idly there waiting for their future-your future. Your life is reduced to a pile of stuff.
One of the friends who helped me move had become a minimalist a few years ago. After a divorce he lived at a bed and breakfast for a year owning only his clothes and car. . .it's all he needed. No boxes of photos (yes, I used to print and hence have to store large quantities of them), no collected holiday decorations, no Pampered Chef utensils that he "just couldn't live without", no boxes of miscelaneous papers: clothes and a car.
I thought about how much easier my life would be with less stuff to pack, arrange, store, care for, worry about, account for, and beg people to move. I thought about how freeeing it would be to be able to fit my whole life into my car and go-where ever and when ever God called me to go.
Mostly, though, I thought about time; stuff demands your time. As a writer I look at the opportunity to live alone in my own home as a chance for uninterrupted days of writing. Time is essential to a writer. But as I sit at my desk to write I can not ignore the encroaching boxes. Instead of writing, I find myself sorting through my stuff, my Mom's, my aunt's, and the stuff of many deceased relatives. Too often it isn't worth the time. Even the time spent selling it is so often not worth it-because, after all, it's time that I need. Money can't buy me time. Every hour I spend sorting or selling is an hour I am not spending writing.
Then again, I can't just throw it away-it's my life, my history, my heritage. I have to weigh the cost of keeping it all, "What am I giving up keeping it-in regards to time. . .and sanity?" I am called to be a writer. When I am, what is essentially wasting time, caring for this debris, I am not fulfilling this mission. Who suffers when I waste this time? The very people who I am supposed to be reaching-that's a real price I am paying.
Wrestling with this subject forced me to look at Matthew 6:19-20 in a whole different way, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." I am admittedly spending time storing up junk which will be destroyed, and choosing to do this as opposed to doing something with my time that will last. I think it's easy to justify "good" things we do in our lives that eat up our time (even if they are not the things we are called to do-the best things), but how often are we taking time holding onto pure junk?
I guess you'll know how I resolve this issue if you don't hear from me next week. I pray that I will be able to keep the cost in mind and save the sorting for a big bout of writers block. . .or the next move. Don't worry Dena, Robb and Ian, I'm getting movers next time.