Cyclothymic Cister

Before the Internet, I used to lie in bed at night composing thoughts as if I were talking to a wise entity. (An actual face never came to mind). I would re-word and re-phrase the thoughts till they were crystal clear. Now I can blog. And hopefully, there are a lot of wise people with real faces out there who might just comment back.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

George Carlin, Clean Sweep & The Gospel of Luke

George Carlin in his classic routine “A place for our stuff,” says “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff”. He goes on to say that when you go up in a plane and look down, you see little piles of stuff everywhere.

To expand on George Carlin’s theme, if houses are just places for our stuff, then storage units are spawns of houses. We are out of control.

In the past three months I have filled THREE storage units: one for each of my two daughters and one for myself.

My youngest daughter is going into rehab and she had to give up her home. What a jumble of stuff I packed and moved using up weekends and evenings.

A week later my oldest daughter left a bad relationship with nowhere to go. She came to my house and we put her belongings in a separate storage unit.

Finally, I am getting new flooring in the entire main living quarters of my house and have to clear the floors (including closets) of EVERYTHING. I have been packing for the last three weeks, loading yet another storage unit.

I am weary of stuff. Some of the things have already been moved from place to place multiple times, showing scars from rough and tumble jostling, losing value with each move. We have never had proper storage in the first place, so that in itself has been a burden.

It doesn’t appear that my mother’s generation had such a problem. And what possessions they did have were well cared for, labeled and passed down to the children. (Plus, houses had attics).

Today with a Wal-Mart in every town and yard sales on every block things are so easily accessible that we over-accumulate. Since things are more plentiful, objects don’t hold as much value, to us or the next generation. They are just taking up space robbing us of peace of mind, instead of making our life easier.

Recently I read a book called “It’s All too Much” by Peter Walsh, host of the tv show A Clean Sweep. He says that clutter and having too much stuff can cause depression, suppression of creativity and even marital problems. Then why do we keep living this way when what I want is to have peace TODAY, not somewhere in the future? I might die not having rid myself of all this chaos when I could have simply let go and been more satisfied and less stressed; spending my time on more pleasurable or productive actives instead of moving and storing things.

Turning to a higher source I find this advice:

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully,
“and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’
“And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
“‘And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’
“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’

(Luke 12: 15-20 The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles)

When the time comes in the near future when my floors are done, I plan to cautiously move things back in from the storage unit. Any superfluous items will be cast away. My daughters will also not be allowed to use my house for a convenient place to stash their belongings while they live the life of the wayward.

I will no longer be a slave to stuff.

Wish me god speed.