[Thoughts from May 2, 2015]
The warm Alabama sun is shining through the trees and warming the grass. Kneeling down in a ray of sunshine petting Junebug’s hot black fur. Looking down at her closed eyes and a soft smile on her face as she lays on her back soaking it all in [M: She really does smile]. I look up and see Mark carrying thick heavy wooden crates obtained from an apple farm near where he grew up.
He is tall and strong [M: Suns out, guns out], wearing jeans and a white shirt, the sun seems to shine on his footsteps. He is emptying the crates of stuff collected over the years, placing it all on the ground to sort through.
As part of the trip preparation, we have been selling most of what we own to rid ourselves of things we won’t need after the trip and to add to savings for the journey. So far we have sold larger and more valuable items on Craigslist such as furniture and old bikes, and are now preparing for a yard sale and the sale of his house. So out from the shed, the typical gear and tools come out- old paint in cans tough to open, fertilizer, rakes, containers used for his interest in growing herbs (mmm basil)[M: Yeah, mmm basil!].
Those things are somewhat easy to determine whether to keep or sell. Using a criteria of will we use it afterwards and is it expensive to replace (not knowing what income we may have after the trip). Sometimes we get hung up in the decision making process- “yeah but if we keep the old tent then we keep the stakes and the tarp and of course it goes well with that rope lighting, soooo we need the rope lighting then… amiright?!” Where do we stop? [M: Apparently we stop at some point beyond rope lights, as they made it into the “keep” bin]. It’s so easy to rationalize keeping stuff.
But what about the other things that aren’t so easy to decide on- the things you can’t bear to watch walk away with someone else. In the mix is a tackle box, 35 years old, that was put together by his father. One he never uses but has carried with him through several moves [M: Kept. I’d very willingly give it to a kid who likes to fish, I just don’t know any].
A lovely piece of handmade pottery his mother had crafted years ago [M: Kept. Always will.].
And those apple crates, what about those? [M: They have been repurposed for shelving, just too cool.]
There is so much of who we are, our story, in our stuff.
As I’m watching all this, I’m smiling. [M: She does that, just like Junebug.]
I’m smiling as I watch this man decide what he is keeping from his story, and what he is trading in for a new one.
I’m smiling listening to his stories and learning more about what has shaped him into who he is and how that has prepared him for this journey.
I’m smiling as I realize that the possession of stuff isn’t necessarily a bad thing…It’s a matter of the heart- do we control our stuff or does our stuff control us.
I’m smiling thinking of how “stuff” relates to us and our story – how the physical stuff is like the emotional junk we carry around with us and how brave we have to be to let it go. To no longer allow it to control us. And on the flip side, how much joy and growth we gain from the treasure in moments, and how aware we have to be to pick them up.
He catches me looking at him, so I walk over and plant a kiss on his cheek [M: She does that too, it’s better than the smiles]. Standing by his side, as he contemplates his “stuff”, I’m on the ready to help him carry it, whatever he chooses to pick up.