An Abundance of Possessions

We sold our house. After months of working hard to get it ready, we finally listed it on a Saturday morning in late March—far, far later than the planned February date. I didn’t know what to expect. Would there be hordes of people coming to view it? Would anyone come at all? Given the timing, we needed a quick sale. What would God do?

A lot, it turns out. We received a serious offer a mere seven days after the listing went live. What’s more, the buyers love plants. They’re thrilled about filling the windows with indoor greenery and filling the outside beds with veggies. They’re interested in getting chickens. In fact, they love everything about the house that we do. It’s so much easier to let go when you know you’re blessing someone else as a result!

Now we’re insanely busy signing hundreds, thousands of papers (at least it seems like thousands), putting all our worldly belongings into boxes (the items not already in storage, that is), and arranging a never-ending list of inspections, appraisals, and other hoops through which we must jump. Jump, jump. This is probably why my knee hurts every time I go down a flight of stairs. No wonder being “under contract” will take a full 30 days!

In the midst of all this chaos, Pete had to make a two-week trip to California. I joined him one week in, leaving a pile of boxes and bubble wrap strewn throughout the house, and thoroughly appreciating every moment of not-packing we had there. It was nice to focus on friends, with some birds and a beach fix thrown in for good measure. But we had to come home to finish packing. Besides, I have a jury summons. It figures.

A number of our friends are watching all this activity and wondering if they should downsize too. Of course they should pray about that, but unless they get a clear “no,” I’d highly recommend doing it now. We aren’t getting any younger, and it doesn’t get easier.

I know a number of elderly people, dear, sweet, “I want to be like that when I grow up” type of people, who would like to move someplace easier to manage, but they’re trapped by their belongings. Years of accumulation have filled closets, basements, attics, and garages. It makes me wonder—do they own all this stuff, or does it own them? It takes a lot more effort to get rid of something than it does to obtain it in the first place.

I’m realizing that a lot of what we’re donating is a pile of gifts we’ve received. When someone gives me something—especially something nice—it’s very hard to sell it or give it away. I feel an obligation to keep and cherish whatever it is. Even years later, when my life has changed and the item is no longer suitable, I guiltily keep it in the closet. Well, I’m learning. I’m very sorry if I offend anyone, but some things just have to go. Let them bless another person!

As I sift through the piles, I’m awed and amazed that we have been able to have all these things. God has been generous and our lives are abundant. But with every item I eliminate, I feel lighter. Less responsibility. Less to maintain. Less to keep track of.

I’m actually excited about having a smaller house. I’ll spend time with friends that I used to spend cleaning. I’m sad but relieved that we no longer have a 2,000 square foot garden to weed, chickens to feed, and a cat to vacuum up after. (I still have a Leopard Gecko named Frito, so I’m not completely pet-less.) Jesus’ words are becoming more and more clear to me: “… life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

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