Anniversaries and possessions

27 June 2011

"I'm thinking we shouldn't take anything when we go."

I said this to the husband today after days and weeks of pondering it, knowing it, and daring it to be said aloud. First, some background:

This weekend we took 24 hours off from parenthood to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary and hang out unhindered and fancy-free in a city we love: our current one. It was great: we walked, had dinner, saw a movie, slept in, and then we went to the City Market for our favourite childless activity: sitting down in a coffeeshop for actual talking.

Sitting across from husband I said this without knowing I would.

"I'm thinking we shouldn't take anything when we go. I don't want to send a crate. I want to leave it all behind."

We hadn't been talking about Ireland much today, still not knowing exactly how and when we'll get back, but knowing for sure that God is leading us back. It hadn't even been on my mind, but for some reason, in that place, this divinely planted wish came tumbling out, and I knew in my heart it was right.

Then came the smile and "I was thinking the same thing" and "I feel free" and "Ireland seems closer now." But also, "We still have to ship my tools" and my knowing nod as I recognize the distinction between what we need for ministry and what we use for comfort.

See, before, when we just took a few things in a large crate that ended up weighing a lot and costing as much as a 20-foot container, I felt jipped. I wanted everything, all my things, all my furniture, everything that said "mine, mine, mine" to go with me to Ireland. Everyone else got to, I said. All of our coworkers took everything, some took more than everything. But it came to be that we took less, and I resented giving those things up. When we came back, and all my things I'd left behind were here waiting for me, I felt vindicated. My rocking chair, my dresser, my table... still "mine, mine, mine."

And yet... the shine was gone. The wood chipped. The imperfections I hadn't remembered, or purposely glossed over, were still there. I sit in my brown club chair now and am happy to have had it here, relieved that it was not so hard to make another home here because of all we left behind, but that's all it is.

A chair I sit in.

Or a table we eat at.

There's no reason to take it with us. It won't make us happier. It won't enable us to love better. And it won't make things easier: the packing and the shipping and the cost of it all. There's no reason - no value to it - that equals the amount we would pay to take something that says "mine" over the sea. I will not be the person that spends thousands of dollars - not just dollars, but investments from people I cherish and admire, who have chosen to love us and Ireland through their support - on a container full of things.

And so our family purpose statement rears it's head. It's our goal and our road map. It points us home and points us heavenward. And it makes this decision, this tiny little sacrifice easier.

Value people over things.

This didn't come from me, or from us. It's what He would have us do, so there's nothing holding us back from being all there, here, or wherever.

It will still be hard, I know, to say goodbye to things that were here at the beginning of "us" and to which we came home. I'm not even really looking forward to it. And I'm sure I'll be annoyed at husband for shipping literal tools for ministry but leaving the framed mirror w/hooks he built for me behind.

But... there's a storage unit on the other side of the sea, with the odds and ends we brought or collected to make a new home. They wait for us to return - not to them, but to the people that inhabited them and visited us there and laughed at the table and closed eyes at the prayers. They want nothing to hold us back.

And yeah, it does seem closer now.

1 comment: