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Yard Sales and Rabbit Trails

March 30, 2011

Disassembling my life.  Taking things down from the top of the kitchen cupboards, washing everything to make it ready for sale.  Most of these things have memories attached – dinner parties, special guests, family.  Cleaning out drawers, packing things destined for the thrift store, recycling, the dump.  I should have done this long ago.  What possessed me to hold on to some of this stuff?  Or more to the point, what possessed me to accumulate it in the first place?

I have decided on a date for my yard sale.  It will be Saturday, April 9, from 8 AM to noon.  Since I am working weekends, choosing a date was difficult.  And I did not want to be in conflict with my church’s yard sale the following weekend.

Going through my photo drawer, sorting out the boxes of pictures.  Memories to keep, still dear to me.  Memories to give away to people to whom they will mean more than they do to me now.   Memories that have faded into the dimness of the past and are of no longer of any significance to me.  Memories I no longer wish to remember.

Transferring music, information and pictures stored on CDs onto my laptop.  How quickly technology reaches obsolescence.  How long before my new state-of-the-art laptop is obsolete?  I already have more loaded into its memory than I could review in months.

Editing some of the pictures to make them more appealing.  Transforming them into images that no longer represent the world as I saw it through the lens, but rather as I want it to be.  Embellishing truth.

Paper!  Reams of material from courses taken, boxes of personal business files, stacks of documents that were of great interest to me at one time.  Keeping only what is absolutely essential.  Of what is non-essential, shredding any that contains personal information, bagging what does not to recycle.  Kind of meaningless since much paper no longer has any value for recyclers.

As I sort I come across a booklet that opens with this definition:

Af-flu-en-za  n.  1.  The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Jones.  2.  An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the American Dream.  3.  An unsustainable addiction to economic growth.

I am interrupted by the arrival of a friend whom I have not seen in awhile.  The interruption is entirely welcome.  I prepare tea for two.  She has come bearing the gift of cookies.  We talk about my plans, our common work situation.  We agree that earning a living has been taking too much life out of us.  She wanders through my home perusing my things, needlessly apologizing for being nosy.  She leaves having purchased several items, wishing she could afford more.

Meanwhile my phone rings to announce someone else is coming to pick up items they had me hold for them.  I would really like to see some of the large items move.   Not only would it mean not having to come up with a Plan B for them, it would give me more space to deal with the rest of my things.  Small items are of much less concern.  What doesn’t sell can be given away.

The young woman who phoned arrives.  She takes an interest in one of the large items, takes pictures with her phone camera to show her husband.  Things tend to work that way for me now.  As needs arise, they are met.  God is good.

I think about my future.  My hope is that my spiritual journey will come to take up so much of my life that there will no longer be room for our commercial culture.  Perhaps I will find what I have been looking for all my life.  A line from an old Kris Kristofferson/Fred Foster song springs unbidden from the depths of my memory:  “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” I think there’s a great truth in those words.

According to Paul, freedom comes through slavery to Jesus.  For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave.” 1 Corinthians 7:22, NIV.  How is it that the Bible contains so many paradoxical ideas?

Dylan sang, You’re gonna have to serve somebody.” Ain’t it the truth.  Jesus spoke about service to Him.  Discipleship.  Luke 14:33 NIV reads,  In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” Characteristically, The Message puts it more plainly:  “Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.” Hard words.   I dare not interpret them for anyone else; I can only, appealing to the Spirit’s guidance, come to some conclusion as to what they mean for me.

Allow me to set off on another rabbit trail.  A situation at work leads me to a question that has troubled me all my life:  Why are so many people so afraid of what is different?  Why are they so desperate to try to elicit universal conformity to the “norms” they themselves espouse?   Why, where they cannot achieve acquiescence, do they seek to destroy.  It has been my observation that this is most manifest in those who, though they are absolutely convinced that they possess the truth, seem to be mortally afraid that their truth is extremely fragile, and therefore cannot tolerate detractors.

By this point most of you must be wondering, “What in heaven’s name is he getting at?”  Being an abstract random thinker I believe any pensée worth its salt should raise far more questions than it answers.  Food for further thought.  The subtitle of my blog, “Missionary Musings” was not chosen lightly.

Counting down the days.  After this afternoon’s shift, I have two days off.  Then only ten more shifts until retirement.

A busy day tomorrow, starting with a very early morning visit to my dentist for what will likely be the last time.  Then home to do some more disassembling.  In the afternoon I will drop in on the dear friend who has offered to purchase all my tools, thus saving me a great deal of work.  Later I will see my doctor, again probably for the last time, to renew my prescriptions in preparation for leaving.  This will be preceded or followed (or perhaps both), according to my mood, by a bit of shopping for a few needed but hard-to-find items.  Flexibility is integral to any good plan.  Wings Night at Checkers, probably with a close friend.  Then I will spend an evening with my friends and supporters at my Thursday night men’s group.

Until next time.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Meaghan permalink
    April 8, 2011 5:49 am

    Make sure those pictures you were going through make it over here!

    • April 8, 2011 6:14 am

      Probably not this time as I have too much I need to take to Haiti. But they’re set aside to bring later.

      Dad

      Sent from my iPhone

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