Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I'm Just Sayin'...

"Every increased possession loads us with new weariness."  ~John Ruskin: author, art critic, social reformer.

"I'm just saying" is a way of expressing our own feelings about something when we feel that no one is listening to us. Whoever came up with that way of appealing to others has given us an appeal that seems to work, and it seems to fit the way we're all moving through our days. In my mind, it goes with another witty saying: "Are you talking to me?" Everyone is talking, or at least communicating, but who's listening? Anybody? And because I think we all feel that way, it's perfectly reasonable to express that sense of speaking when no one is paying attention, unless it's immediately pertinent to something they're doing. And yet, expressing those words--I'm just sayin'--makes us feel better somehow. It's an acknowledgement that we all understand that perhaps someone is listening, or perhaps no one is listening. It doesn't matter because I'm saying it anyway. So here's what I'm just sayin'....

It's already Wednesday and what have I got to show for my week? Well, I have more to show this week than I did last week at this time. I've slowly, but surely, been climbing out of the doldrums of two lengthy health problems. Between being ill and having my family move in, it's been a busy few months. In thinking about what I could put on my blog that would be uplifting, I almost went to my favorite subject: food. A good recipe is hard to beat for uplifting the spirit and feeding the hope that this time I'll make that delicious dish. But all my favorite cookbooks are packed, so I'm left with little more than what's in my head. So I thought I'd make an analogy between moving and life. You didn't realize there was one, did you?

I announced that I was moving back to Tennessee in January--New Year's Day actually. And you can be sure that I've been engaged in either packing, thinking about packing, or watching someone else packing for a good deal of that time. And, in fact, not only did almost everything I own get loaded up and taken away, but I'm now living in someone else's bedroom and bath--what House Hunters would call an ensuite--with a few clothes, a television set, two or three books, and my laptop. It's a large bedroom and bath, and it's private, so that makes it easier. 

But now to my analogy. I'm so much older than I used to be, and this morning I was thinking about all I've accumulated during my lifetime. It has been the source of many discussions with my family because much of it had to be moved. Hundreds of books, many bookshelves, pictures--both to hang on the wall and of the family. Dishes--sets and sets of lovely, but no longer needed china. Art supplies--paper, brushes, pencils, paints. Sewing supplies with yards and yards of unused fabric, thread, patterns, etc.  Paper supplies, pens and inks. Jewelry in boxes. And clothes...many clothes, shoes, etc. Now I don't have everything I've collected over my lifetime to this day...I've gotten rid of many, many things before now. And I've gotten rid of many, many things recently. But in our affluent society, where we can go to a store every day of our lives--I've done my share of purchasing. Convinced that I've found the very thing I need, whether in a store, on QVC, or online, it adds up. I'm just sayin''s difficult to give up things that I bought because I liked them, books that I've looked at on my shelves for years and years, clothes that I loved and was once able to get into, and writings that I once labored over with thoughtful expression. Boxes of writings, collected papers, etc.                      

But there won't be room for all of my things in Tennessee. I've had to pick and choose only the favorite books that will fit into one large and one small bookcase. I can keep only my  favorite or necessary clothes, though I've fudged a little here. And I only have room for necessary furniture. We're still looking for a spot to put a desk and my computer. The townhouse is absolutely large enough for me if I didn't have so many things. But what I've learned through all of this getting rid of things, and picking and choosing what to keep is: how much easier life would be if we chose to live our whole lives with a few of our favorite things. In fact, what if we lived our lives by that advice from some well-versed organizer: When something comes in, something has to go out. Ha! Not likely.                                                

But, perhaps if, instead of spending our days accumulating, we spent our days in other ways. And, just so you'll know, I ran across a verse this morning that is appropriate here: "You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself?" Romans 2:21 I'm definitely talking to myself as well! It's just human to accumulate things that we love, or things we enjoy, or things we can afford--it's simply being human. But, I'm just sayin'...what if we chose of our own free will not to be so human? Could I have been less traumatized by this move? Yes! Could I have more peace at leaving a few things behind rather than a lot? Yes! Would I feel less deprived of my belongings, if there weren't so many to deal with--to get rid of? Yes! This move could have been simpler and less agonizing. I've literally agonized over my books, over my clothes, and over many other things that should--perhaps--have been given away a long time ago. I'm holding on to a past that doesn't exist anymore. And come to think about it: Do we hold on to things because seeing our things go reminds us that our life is used up too?

I'm just sayin' that since I'm older--and hopefully wiser--I can see that moving is a lot like life. We are born and we grow...we keep growing until we're completely grown. We keep wanting, we buy, we store, we rearrange, we buy some more. In the end, we've accumulated a lot of stuff. But in the end, what happens? We have to let it all go. We have to let it ALL go!

 I've let a lot of my things go, but not all. I'm still clinging to as much as I can possibly stuff into that townhouse and its garage. And I'm looking forward to the day when my family, who will be living upstairs until they find a place of their own, will move out, allowing me to spread out and fill up the upstairs as well. What!? Yes, it's true. I want to spread out the supplies for my writing, and my sewing, and my painting. But I'll promise you one thing: I'll be aware enough not to fill up every space. I'll be aware that I need to get rid of things as I buy more. And I'll always be aware that it's all expendable. Just as I am. 

Uh, oh. I've just hit on the real value of what I'm just sayin'.... The real value of seeing what we do with our lives--what we care about in our lives--is to find what matters on a spiritual level. In the end, what matters to our eternal life? How much do we love our earthly things? How much do we give away to those who are truly in need? How much time do we spend with the sick? How much time do we spend reading the word of God? In the end, it will be our spiritual lives that matter. Are you filled with the spirit and the understanding? Does the Holy Spirit dwell within you? All valid questions to contemplate and answer for ourselves. Me included. Especially me! 

I'm just sayin'....