I have a large slice of chocolate cake and a glass of milk next to my computer. I picked up the cake this afternoon from one of our local cafes, after I picked up the easy (read: conventional store-bought) meals to feed my family for the next few days. I’m sitting at the bar in my kitchen, looking out at counters topped with grocery sacks, bowls, odd pans and utensils and jars (still more jars!) and crumpled up papers of garbage and paper towels and of course–as usual–the various pieces of legos. My kitchen smells like tallow because that was the last of my freezer, and it’s in the crockpot rendering. It’s not the most pleasant smell. On floors everywhere are piles and piles of boxes: standard moving boxes, grocery boxes, paper boxes, diaper boxes….all full of a crazy amount of *things* that I think I’m actually going to find room for in my smaller house.
Because, after all, I can’t get rid of the waffle maker we rarely (but delicously) use. Nor the dozens of seasonings or a library of cookbooks (heresy, that!). But…oh….I look at all of the boxes and can’t even see how the boxes themselves will fit onto the FLOOR of my house. And this, after massive decluttering, selling, giving away. Methinks I need to redefine what a “massive” decluttering means.
The reality is this. Once in the house, I will try to put things away and very, very soon (day one, I’m sure) it will become very, very clear what are the most important things to have. A set of dishes? Yes. Four sets? Um…no. Four little plastic toddler cups for mine and their pals? Sure. Fourteen? No.
And I know the struggle that will occur. But what if I need them later? What if my kids want to inherit them? What if the internet goes down forever and most of my books are gone? What if a family of sixteen comes to stay the night and I don’t have enough towels for them all? What if, what if, what if…
The previous owner left a mug for me. On one side, it says “What if…?”
On the other side, it says, I have set the LORD always before me… (Ps 16:8)
I think that’s the answer to the “what if”s. If it’s not, then the only other option is to be anxious, fearful, worried, and too tight-fisted with the things (and they are things) of this world.
As I look around at the incredible amount of boxes I have packed, both in the garage and in the house, I see clearly that I have so much more to learn about what it means to walk lightly. Debt is not the only burden; too many things to buy, take care of, insure, dust and repair are. It’s one thing to love the house you’re in, and what you have. It’s another to enslave our lives to it all, working hard to pay the bills or to spend all of our time to keep those things in order. Clearly I get the *idea* of this. But the execution? Well….I have a lotta lotta boxes packed around here….
We are moving in two days. That means only two more nights of sleeping in our McMansion, with its double washer/dryer set, four toilets, fourteen exterior doors and radiant heat floors. We’ll have to learn how to use one washer/dryer, cook in a very small kitchen, maintain a wood stove for heat, and use one bathroom for the 9 (almost 10) of us. Neither my husband nor I have any sense of false bravado that we can “just do it”. It’s a leap of faith.
It’s also a little overwhelming. But I wonder if….what if….I’ll actually get the chance to always–always–set the Lord before me? Maybe I’ll have more need of Him when the woodpile is low or rain threatens my clothes on the line or children are underfoot (because…where else are they going to go?). Maybe as the bills dwindle, the dependence on the car wanes, and our big entertainment becomes sitting on the porch watching the stars…maybe we’ll actually have more of a LIFE.
I really have no idea how this is all going to work out. But as I hand the keys to our realtor next week and wake up in my rustic bungalow, I think much work in my heart will begin to be done, about what is real, what matters. Even if He does let me keep the waffle maker.