Monday, September 6, 2010

Don't make the same mistake I made

I'm what's commonly called a packrat. So if you don't hoard yourself, you can't make my mistake, right? Wrong wrong wrong. Hoarding wasn't my mistake. Complacency was. (If you think the most important thing in life is “Don't be a packrat” or “Don't be weird” you are rather sadly mistaken.) Guard your heart! Don't think that there is only one wrong attitude towards possessions. I thought that since I had guarded against the “acquisition” problem by spending money carefully and, I thought, wisely, I wouldn't end up with a “stuff” problems. Wrong. I avoided the acquisition problem and ended up with a volume problem. How do you measure “stuff” anyway? Volume? Weight? Value at time of purchase? Resale value? What “most people” do?
So, I filled one side of a 2 car garage with my stuff. It may not sound so bad to some, but at 3:30 in the morning it looked, and felt, awful. What else could I have put there? Crates of antiques? Hmm, could've sold those and done a lot of good with the auction proceeds. But what if I HADN'T sold them? What if I'd bought a 16 room mansion to hold them and made my stuff problem worse? What about a Porsche? Tony Campolo asserted that a Christian can't own a status symbol like a BMW. I shudder to think how he'd condemn a Porsche. But wait, what if I do fill that side of the garage with a Porsche, while giving away 90% of my income for deeds of charity and truth? That doesn't sound like a problem at all. What if that half of the garage is simply filled with a 2nd auto that I don't need? What if I can, and desperately need to, walk or bike to work? Should I sell the car and compel myself to exercise?
There are a LOT of stuff problems. I was going to say “only you can judge your stuff problem” but even that is misleading, since it's easy for anyone to assert “I have a good attitude towards my stuff.” I hope you do, really, but as I know, there is a lot of room for self-justification and self-delusion. Better to leave the judging to “the One who judges justly”, the One who both knows our greatest need, our greatest sin, and yet loves us unconditionally.
[Perhaps I should say “mass” instead of weight, since launching it into space makes my stuff weightless but doesn't affect its mass. And it would cost a LOT of $$$]