Monday, September 15, 2008

Cleaning House

Lately I've really felt the need to just get rid of, or give away, all of those things that I no longer use and that are just taking up gobs of space. A week ago I began the process of going through my things and, as it turns out... I've got a LOT of stuff!

How on earth did I not know that I had a lot of stuff??? Because I hid it, that's why. It was in storage bins in the garage, in my desk drawers, and even under my bed, in those all-too-convenient Rubbermaid under-the-bed storage containers. So, what I thought might take a couple of days, has turned into a week now and I'm still not done. Part of my problem is that I have the 'what if' syndrome...

What if I get invited to a party and I need this dress?

What if I ever get married and have kids...wouldn't they like these princess frames? (assumming that I have girls...oh, and assumming I get married- details you know)

What if I decide that I want to make homemade french fries and I've given away my potato slicer-thingy that cuts potatoes into the perfect fry shape?

And on, and on, and on...this went on for a while and then I started realizing how ridiculous I was being with regards to the things I was holding onto. I mean, really Julie??? Yes, sure, maybe you'll re-read that book in the days to come...that book that had so much dust on it, that when you fanned through the pages, you started choking on the cloud of dust that rose up. Or how about that Sony Walkman??? Yes, I said Walkman. The one that plays cassettes. Yes, I'm sure those will make a comeback any day now. Oh, and especially having worked in both Disneyland Park and in HR for Disney, I've got quite the collection of buttons. They are constantly giving you buttons/pins (or 'Flair' for my Facebook friends :-) for EVERYTHING. "It's the 5 1/2 year anniversary of when we repainted the Norway children in the 'It's a Small World' attraction" here's a button! I'm obviously exaggerating (a bit), but you get the idea.

Here are a couple of the things I came across... try not to be jealous.

This book was so good that they made it into a movie... a bad movie, but a movie nontheless

"ohhhhhh.... the claw..." (you have to see Toy Story to get it)

Boy Bands through the years...

I began looking at these piles of unused stuff and realized that there might be people out there who could, and would, actually use it now. That coupled with the fact that, over the past couple of weeks, I keep seeing scripture after scripture about possessions and giving to others. When everywhere I turn, I'm reading about something God has to say about giving, I get the idea that He may be wanting me to apply that in my life. (I know...I catch on quick). Besides, too often I let possessions become all too important in my life...things oftentimes get flipped around and I don't own my possessions, they end up owning me because the more things I have, the more things I have to take care of.

As I'm oftentimes reminded by Pastor Rick, 'you never see a hearse with a U-Haul behind it.' I'm not taking any of this stuff with me. Our stuff will usually give us brief moments of happiness, but it's never lasting... we always want more. However, I've found that it's not this way everywhere. Having been blessed with the opportunity to spend time with some of the 'poorest' people in Africa, I've found that I've never met people with so much honest-to-goodness joy in their hearts. Possession-wise, they have next to nothing...over the span of two weeks, I would see women wearing the exact same dress everyday and they didn't own one single pair of shoes, much less the 5 pairs of black shoes, alone, I have. Not only do they seem to have more joy, they also have stronger relationships with one another. They actually know their neighbors, and I truly believe that they demonstrate a stronger level of love for one another; and, they are able to do this simply because they don't have all of that 'stuff' to get in their way.

This weekend, at church, Pastor Rick was commenting on our tendency to put all of our things, our tasks, our errands first in our lives and whatever time we have leftover, that is what we give to our relationships with people; and, really, it should be the reverse. We should devote as much time as is needed in our relationships, showing people our love by giving them our time, and whatever time is leftover after that, that would be the time we give to our tasks, errands, etc. That comment really resonated with me and got me to thinking about how many times I have said that I couldn't do something with a friend/family member because I just 'didn't have the time and I had too much to get done'. I'm always reminded that when we're on our deathbed, we won't be asking for someone to bring us our jewelry or our trophies to look at one last time; but, we will be asking to have those we love around us. If people are what is most important to us when we are dying, shouldn't they be what is most important to us while we're living?


Sara Warren said...

Must be in the water. I too have been going through and "cutting the fat" from our house. I also have the "what ifs." It's a syndrome though that I am working on. I finally asked myself, do I really need 8 EXTRA pillows in the house when there are others with none?

Dana M said...

I loved your "Oooh the claw" and also the button reference about Disneyland and buttons for everything. So TRUE. But let's not be ridiculous and give away your N'Sync CD haha.