For 24 hours of travel from Delhi through Newark, Chicago, and then into Missouri, amid all the hectic luggage shifting and child-caring, I couldn’t stop thinking about our 2 hour wait with too many bags stuffed full of both precious and meaningless things.
I don’t want to move homes again with the angst, clutter, and nostalgic hoarding that accompanied this move. I need and I long for this time in the US to be one in which we find our rhythm.
A rhythm that will work whether the kids are 3 or 17. A routine for travel and moving that maintains our values concerning “stuff”, but also a routine for daily life in which we practice the same values in the every day, making the moves and the travel easier.
I will not again pay excessively for excess luggage. We will decide together what’s important to keep. What we give and what we sell. THEN I will plan and pack ahead. I will start with arrival day in mind. What do I really need and/or value when I get there?Then I will pack only these things. And therefor I will get rid of all the other things ahead of time. I will not OWN so many things that I only end up discarding. That, my friends, is madness.
I have no idea how we will do this. I know it will take time and time. But if we don’t do this now, in a year we will have an even bigger problem in a 1600 sq foot house full of stuff (twice the size of what we’ve lived in). If I don’t use something, I don’t want to just stuff it in hiding. I want to let it go. And I don’t want 15 mediocre shirts. I want a few nice ones that I can wear out. I don’t want to be driven by fears of “what if I want this specific lotion or book or shirt later, and don’t have it…. “. Would that really be such a problem? Yes it seriously concerns me in the moment of packing.
Instead of one favorite mug amongst the normal ones I serve tea and coffee in, I have 5 favorite mugs.
Instead of one shampoo I have 3 half-empty bottles of favorite rshampoo.
Instead of one lovey each, both my kids have a favorite teddy bear, blanket, AND lovey that, in my mind, they both need everywhere we go.
And we go an awful lot.
There’s something significant and disturbing in all of this.
I was walking through the Chicago airport crowds, pushing Little Miss around, when it struck me that the thing that keeps me from minimalism is fear.
Fear that I won’t have the means to purchase something later, so I keep things eternally.
Fear that if I give it away, I’ll never have another.
Fear that if I don’t have my favorite mug while I’m traveling, my journal, and 5 other nostalgically significant objects, that it won’t feel like home and I’ll have somehow lost the sense of “home” and belonging.
As if belonging is rooted in my stuff.
If I don’t have all the things that remind me of our Himalayan mountain town… then will it be as if we were never there and never experienced that feeling of belonging there?
So in fear I gather up every preschool drawing, every pinecone we painted last Christmas, every thank you card received, every pair of wool socks worn in the frigid mountain nights. I gather them up and I stuff them in bags and pockets and trunks and purses, hoping that all of the memories will fit. The wool shawl I wrapped in on winter mornings, the tea kettle I boiled chai in over and over. As if discarding them would rob me of the memories.
No. This isn’t going to work.
I won’t be this girl.
Because what I fear is disconnected drifting, the life of the shallow lotus that floats aimlessly on top of the pond.
I reach down deep with all my roots, I long to dig them deep in belonging and identity.
But these things were never found in objects. They were found in God. And God is the One who taught me to let down the walls, to pull in close and to make connections that last. Both with him and with others.
Without Jesus I can’t forgive, I can’t fully trust, and I can’t really love. So He is the one that gives me the ability to belong. And He’s the one whose presence I need in every place. To make it home. To feel my identity. My belonging. My roots.
With this revelation I can let go of the things, because it’s FAITH in His goodness and His promised belonging that allows me to go minimal.
The mug and the journal are a bonus. But they aren’t what makes me feel at “home”.
If you have advice on how to live more simply, i would love to hear it.