<%image(20050530-amazon box.jpg|113|86|box)%> The inevitable part of every move is packaging everything you own into boxes. We currently have boxes piled up in several corners and along most of the available wall space. Most of our book cases have been disassembled and the literary contents thereof tucked away in liquor boxes (boy did we have to drink A LOT to empty those boxes!!!). In putting so much of our stuff away while continuing to live without a deep sense of deprivation, it sure makes me wonder if I need all that I call “my stuff”.
Of course there have been occasions when I have longed for a particular book that was packed in a box. That was inevitable! Yet, it would seem that I could manage OK without many of the books that I purchased during my time of employment at Borders. At the time I thought it would be great to be surrounded by “great books” and so I stocked up on many top titles while they were at my finger tips. In addition, every 6 months or so I get that inevitable itch for a new shirt, new pants, whatever. Though my old clothes are fine looking, I begin to regard them as dirty, faded, used up, whatever. And so I add to my collection when there’s a decent sale.
And while I would not deny that I have wasted my fair share of cash on plenty of occasions, I’m not so sure that this is the larger problem here. I think that there’s something else at work. What lurks in my mind is the need to stockpile, possess, and gather worth as I garner more things. Part of my desire to acquire quality books is so that our home can be a refuge for people who want to slow down and read, that is a very intentional thing we’re doing, but many times I find myself just wanting to have more, to feel good about having sharp looking stuff on the shelves.
Besides finding a sense of worth or status from what I own, I also find myself getting attached to certain things beyond what is healthy. On one occasion I was so attached to a really nice tie that God very clearly told me to give it to Josh. I obeyed, but of course questioned God occasionally on the matter (if you’re reading this Josh, how is the tie doing?). My latest attachments have been to certain books, my guitar, and my computer. It’s hard to remember that I’m just a caretaker, user, or even renter of these things that truly belong to God.
Renting in fact has been a helpful image for my thinking. As we move from one rental to another, we have a very clear sense that our home is not our own, that we can’t do whatever we want with it, and that we better leave it in decent shape (I think the last one is optional for some renters!). In a sense, my books, computer, guitar, everything, are just on loan or rentals from God. Unlike Hertz or Alamo, he doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for the rental. Yet, also unlike Hertz and Alamo, he may terminate the rental at any time and take my arm or leg while he’s at it since they’re rentals as well!!!