Jul. 1, 2015

The Joys of Less...

Chicken Soup for the Soul, that series of books on almost every topic known to man, i.e., being single, having horrible teen-agers, being adopted, being a baseball fan, beach lover, bride, cancer survivor, cat lover, etc.; recently put out the word that they’d like submissions on The Joys of Less...Having more by simplifying our lives.

There’s a move afoot, mostly in decorator magazines I think, lauding people who are moving out of their big comfortable houses into tiny places which any self-respecting dog would reject as being too small. Having occupied the same house since 1970, which was perfect at that time for my adorable, very handy-can fix anything, husband, our four children, a series of German Shepherd dogs, the occasional unhappy cat and me, it now seems a little bigger than we really need. All the children have grown up, have their own homes and we are totally out of the pet business. The house sits on 2/3 of an acre featuring what used to be beautiful lawns, roses, gardenias, azaleas, fruit trees and now that the drought continues to hold us in its clutches apparently forever, a vista of brown, wilting and dying.

When I think of “The Joys of Less,” what comes to mind is that I really should give my bread machine to the Salvation Army as I haven’t made bread with it in probably ten years. Chicken Soup also suggested topics such as learning to say no to commitments. This has gotten much easier since the introduction of email, the text message and the answering machine. One can now avoid people who want you to serve on their committee or give to their cause by simply taking a moment or two to think of a good reason to say no, then shooting it off by email. No more getting caught flat-footed on the phone.

Suggestions were made to clean out your closet and give things away, shop less, have a yard sale, or simply walk away from it all. One could embrace the “stay-cation” – a technique we have utilized for several years due to an aversion to road trips and airplane trips longer than three hours (the amount of time it takes to get to Texas to see our grandchildren). Also dispense with cable service. Seriously? Not in this lifetime!

Cleaning out the closet is a great idea. There are sweaters I haven’t worn in years, some even have shoulder pads! T-shirts with stains, pants that never did fit well. You probably have that stuff, too.

We have tried to pass along various items to our children and grandchildren but they are unwilling to take any of ours as they have too many things of their own and think The Joys of Less is a splendid idea. Especially our son and his wife who have a new baby, a two year old and every toy created by Fischer-Price.

Actually, our lives are pretty simple already. Taking on more responsibility? We don’t. Buying new furniture? We won’t. Appliances? No thanks. But that bread machine is outta here!

Maybe if we had less stuff to take care of we could concentrate on having more of God’s presence in our lives. I wouldn’t mind having more of His “most excellent way” which includes that thing about love being patient and kind. Love doesn’t envy, it’s not rude nor self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Always protects, always trusts, always hopes...love never fails. I don’t think any of those are available on Amazon.com. Maybe I need to shop The Word more and Amazon.com less. Just saying.