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October 6, 2005

It's "just stuff"

How attached we become to our "stuff." Our basement flooded Tuesday night, when the Twin Cities received a record 5 - 6 inches of rain in a short time. As best I can tell, the ground was so saturated that the water seeped in through the floor - hence, wet carpeting in Mark's bedroom. He spent today tearing it all out; the dumpster is in the driveway.

This afternoon I started surveying the closets downstairs and found a number of wet storage boxes. One box contained tax returns from the 1980s. Good riddance, I guess. But another box contained my college yearbooks - they're toast. Another contained my baby book, complete with everything my mother wrote about my first years. I think it will dry out and not have to be thrown away.

But in the end, it's all just "stuff." I have NO right to whine, after what the people along the Gulf Coast have experienced. They lost everything - all their "stuff." I've had a number of experiences over the years without stuff, and it's reassuring to know that I have some perspective on how unimportant it really is. One such experience was when I moved to Minnesota in 1990. My wife was staying behind in Texas for 6 months while Paul finished high school, so I just moved here with my car and the relatively minimal amount of stuff it would hold. I lived in a funky room in a large house the department used to own (that's another story...) but was very content with the minimal baggage I had to deal with. Another time when I realize how little stuff I really need is when I go on retreat and stay in a very small single room -- the "stuff" of every day life doesn't really matter very much at all. And I've also had experiences when the stuff feels like a millstone around my neck -- like when moving across country and the driver of the van tells you how many tons of "stuff" you have, and by the way, here's the bill for hauling it.

When it's all said and done, we enter the world with nothing and leave the world with nothing. Having "stuff" is nice, but there's a lot more to life. Less is more. That will be my mantra as I proceed to fill the dumpster in the driveway.

But I'm still sad to lose my college yearbooks and other artifacts of childhood.
Less is more. less is more. less is more. less is more. less is more. less is more.

Posted by hgroteva at October 6, 2005 6:48 PM | Life


I'm sorry to hear about your water damage. The weather has been quite interesting the last few weeks, hasn't it? How easily we forget about the more meaningful "stuff" of life! The relationships with those we care about, the special occassions, anniversaries, and birthdays are all part of that other "stuff". One of the leaders of my church once said that the only thing we can take with us into heaven is the relationships we have fostered with one another in this life. I really believe that. Your comments were a gentle reminder of the importance of the other "stuff" in life--our relationships!

Posted by: Kevin at October 7, 2005 10:32 AM