I am continually reflecting on the huge changes that have taken place in my life within the last 10 days. It is hard to reflect on leaving my home when there are so many new things to see and experience, but I think it is still important work.
When first sorting through things and giving so much away, it felt freeing, like a weight had been lifted off of me. I rejoiced in letting my burdens, my stuff, become blessings to others (as I wrote before). But it got harder after I got rid of the things I could easily live without, and started coming upon the things that I didn’t need, but really liked to have: my Immersion blender, my wine glasses, my college papers and articles. I worried about what I would do when we come back someday, if we give away all we have now. Will we have what we need when we return?
While making hard decisions about these things and learning to let go, I was also letting go of familiar people and places that I loved. I had my farewell cappuccino at the Midtown Scholar, my favorite independent bookstore and coffee shop. I sipped the sweet bitterness and wandered through the open store where I had spent countless hours browsing books, writing papers, listening to live music, chatting with friends. I found my way up to one of my favorite sections, Poetry, and looked for some Mary Oliver. I was not successful, but I did stumble upon an old favorite, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.
I turned to the chapter, “On Giving,” and read the timely words:
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the over-prudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he flows the pilgrims to the holy city? And what is the fear of need but need itself? Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, thirst that is unquenchable?”
We are so fearful of having enough, that we store our manna, hoping it will keep for the future. But we forget to recognize that we have enough for today, and that is what we need. When we believe that we have what we need for today, and trust that we will have what we need tomorrow, then we are free to share with others. It is not easy to live that way in our society, but I am trying to learn, one step at a time.
Josh and I still stored (in wonderful, generous friends’ basements) a lot of boxes. We also sent many other things to Salvation Army or to willing arms. We tried to loan out what I could; if those things are there when we come back, great, if not, we will survive. We packed up what we could take to Belize in several suitcases, and already it is more than we need.
I have been learning to hold things lightly, to trust in God’s provision wherever we are.