When we were moving back to the ranch, I got rid of a lot of stuff.
I don’t like to move, although I am pretty much a pro.
When I was growing up, my dad got transferred all over the country, and that man could pack a U-haul like a Cuban artisan can roll a cigar. He defied every recommended safety notice and challenged the laws of physics. Volume, mass, weights, measures, space, and time were no obstacle for my father when it came time to relocate.
Once he accidentally packed my brother. If it was in the driveway, it was going in the Uhaul.
Grown with my own family, and stellar packing abilities, we only moved into the house in town two and a half years prior in a desperate attempt to adopt two little girls out of the foster care system.
They have recently been adopted by another family.
Had I gotten my way we wouldn’t have our sweet Charlie. Nor would we be loving on the dear flower child peacefully sleeping in the nursery now.
Thank God I don’t always get what I want.
Alas, it was time to move on, and move back to the ranch… home.
As I wrapped this and that in sheets of clean newsprint a memory of unpacking this house swept over me, and I was slain with sadness.
In our rush to get settled in the house in town, all hands were on deck. We wanted to get our child protective services inspection to move forward most quickly on the two little sisters in need of a forever family. I set a box in the living room with my most prized mementos from my dad’s mom, Grandma Mickey.
My Grandma Mickey was very dear to me. I have her green eyes, which she often reminded me were select only to “witches and fairies.” She knit, she sewed, she baked and canned. She told wonderful tales of Norway and sang delightful songs around the campfire.
She was my grandma, my hero, and my friend.
And as I unpacked my stuff, in the new house in town, I put the box with my grandma’s grandmother’s pie tin, a Norweign teapot, some handmade washcloths, and several other precious nick-nacks she had passed to me, on the floor next to the shelves in the living room. I went into the kitchen to make dinner.
Somewhere in the period of the next two days, in the chaos of unpacking and setting up a new home, Justin asked me if I was finished with the boxes in the living room. I said yes. The cherished trinkets were still deep in newsprint. The box was light. It was crushed and taken to the dump.
It was an entire week later that I realized… my stuff was gone.
In spite of my fanciful ways, I am not materialistic. But, I did send my sons in search of the box. One night I woke at 2 am and went to the garage and dug through every single box, Tupperware container, and bag in hopes there had been something I overlooked. Some kind of mistake and I would have my stuff back.
It was gone.
And there was much to do. Not too many days later we realized the girls we had hoped would be a part of our family had been moved. We stayed the course. I had bigger fish to fry, I knew we were in this house to make room for a child or children in need.
A couple of weeks later we got the call that a baby boy needed a safe haven. I had little time to dwell on my stuff.
Honestly, until we were packing up to move back to the ranch, I hadn’t thought of the box of my stuff. I would be lying if I said I didn’t care it was gone. Each item held a special memory, it would have been nice to have those things to share. It occurs to me while the stuff was dear the memory was most dear.
And as I packed, I toss this and that to the trash, the curb or the garage sale pile. All my stuff, stuff I needed, wanted, or had to have, is disposable. These things do not define me. They are just things. No matter how I pack them, stuff them, or label them, they do not change the story of me.
I am no less Grandma Mickey’s granddaughter because I no longer have the box of treasures. My identity as her granddaughter is written on my bones. And in my quest to make a home I sometimes ran ahead to fill it with stuff, when it just needed love.
[Tweet “My identity as her granddaughter is written on my bones.”]
Furthermore, I wonder how much time I wasted acquiring stuff I thought necessary to make me happy or create a balance where we could open our home to a child in need.
I regret this.
My Americanized self-struggles with the affluence and the collecting. My more sane self likes to think if I were a refuge wandering homeless, and I spied a child in need… I would stop without consequence. Without regard for the number of rooms in my house, the space in my van, the impact on my 401K… or the urgency that “I might get hurt.”
Still, I wrap trinkets and heave others. I label one for sale for a quarter, and I wrap one in bubble wrap… separate and apart. And I imagine my things at the bottom of a landfill, their history untold, their impact negated. I promise I will live better, unchained to the materialistic nonsense of this world.[Tweet “I will live better, unchained to the materialistic nonsense of this world.”]
Recklessly tossing baubles to the wolves. Unafraid to open rooms and risk hearts fully embracing my spiritual gifts; gifts of hospitality and generosity and loading Uhauls efficiently. And I vow to honor my Scottish-Norwegian-English nomadic roots and tell tall tales and sing camp songs and love fearlessly… letting go my petty apparatus and loving well…
Seeing things with my unique green eyes, select only to witches and fairies….
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” 1 John 2:15
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