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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We are not our stuff

We didn't really think of ourselves as people who had a lot of stuff. For the 2005-2006 school year, we lived in Thailand with what fit in four 70 pound suitcases. It seemed like so little when we were packing, yet when we arrived we had more than we needed and wished we had packed less. In fall of 2006 we returned to the US, had our first baby, and moved into our first house. The following spring we purchased our first home, a three bedroom home with a partially finished basement, about 2100 square feet. Neither of us are big spenders or shoppers and we considered our home very modestly furnished without a lot of 'things'. Every time we moved, including moving into this home, we sold, gave away, or tossed many items.

So how is it that in the two years we lived in this home, we accumulated so many things? Something about having the space made us no longer need to continue to purge items we don't need, and we acquired more toys and furniture as we added to our family. It still didn't seem like a lot until we decided to move into an RV and get rid of all the things we no longer needed or used. We were ashamed to see how many things that really was. Box after box was filled. We rented a 14 foot truck at one point to move things out before selling our house, and our house was still more than adequately furnished after that. All over the world, there are families whose entire home is the size of that truck. And here we are, filling it with just some of our excess. It was enough to make us sick. Have we really been good stewards of our resources? We say that things aren't our focus, that people are more important, but are we really teaching our children that by the way we live? How many hours have been spent taking care of this stuff we don't even need-cleaning, organizing, and picking up-that could have been spent playing with our kids?

We are looking forward to this time to see how little we really and truly need in the way of 'things'. We'll go back to talking and playing games together instead of each person having their own toys to play with. And hopefully we'll shed the need to always be looking for our next new thing, and instead focus on the next new place we'll experience as a family and the next new friend we'll make along the way.


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