Someday, my life will sync up with the church calendar. Last year we did pretty good as we moved overseas during Lent, forcing us to give up most of our worldly possessions for the season. This year, we had the most un-Lenten Lent we have experienced as Anglicans, and only now as Eastertide draws to a close do we find ourselves again sitting on folding chairs in an empty house.
It began in earnest 3 days ago when our beds were boxed and the final boxes of our stuff were loaded to begin another journey. I really like our bed, so weeks on loaner furniture and hotel beds does not appeal to my back. Self-mortification is only romantic when you read about someone else’s.
Reducing my stuff to what I can fit in a few suitcases is a valuable exercise, though. It makes me realize how much excess we have and it causes me to question if I still need this or that. It makes me wonder if I am too attached to some things (mostly books).
My morning view as I sit and write has not changed, other than the lack of rocking chairs on the patio outside the window. The view is the same, but the setting is different. No desk or bookshelves. The lack of furniture means the ambient sounds now are more prominent. The refrigerator’s whir sounds like a mild roar now without the quiet ticking of my grandpa’s clock.
Simplicity is currently trendy in some circles. It’s a natural reaction to our society’s clamor for material things. Every time we move I think how much easier it would be if we had less. I feel like we are fairly spartan until I see it all boxed and being loaded.
As I sat in a lawn chair in my driveway watching the movers load the crates, I wondered what the casualties would be this time. It seems there is always something, which will mean more time spent tending my stuff as I navigate the claims process and then wait to see what, if anything, we will receive in reimbursement.
Some things did not make the cut and were either given away or thrown away. Once we arrive at our destination, another round of pruning will inevitably occur as we unpack. It’s self-examination in a material sense, a very Lenten idea.
As draining as it seems, the forced accounting of our possessions through frequent moving has been a good thing overall. It has encouraged us to travel this earthly pilgrimage lightly. It has also encouraged us to hold on to our stuff loosely, because we know with each move, we could lose any (or all!) of it.
Even in the discomforts of moving, I am reminded that I enjoy a very high standard of living in comparison with most of the world’s population. Even now, on loaner furniture in a mostly empty house, I have a roof over my head, clean running water, and indoor plumbing. I have heat and am protected from the elements. I am blessed far beyond what I deserve.