We all collect a lot of stuff in our lives. Most of us a LOT of stuff! So what do we do with all this stuff?
The late George Carlin, comedian, had a hilarious bit about what to do with our stuff. Ever notice how most good comedians take every day things and turn them into really good comedy bits? Ol’ George did it here.
We start with the accumulation of “stuff.” As we accumulate, we have to have a place to keep it! We have basements, closets, chests… and we fill ‘em up. If there is an empty place, we fill it with stuff. Sometimes, we even have to build storage sheds or rent space to keep all this stuff. When we travel, we have to take along some of our stuff. We get big suitcases or SUVs to carry our stuff with us. Then, when we arrive at our destinations, we get small bags to carry our stuff. Women carry what I call “life bags” for all the stuff they need to get through daily life. I don’t know why they need a life bag instead of the simple wallet I carry. But then, I have no idea what kinda stuff is in my wallet that I need to get rid of. Maybe I’ll do that when I’m finished with this.
So, why do we do it, accumulate so much stuff? Lots of reasons. Let’s look at some of the stuff in our house. We have all the things of memories. Pictures we’ve not organized or looked at for years, probably never will. They fill a few plastic totes, at least three drawers in various cabinets or dressers. We have the boys childhood stuff, drawings, toys, etc. There’s Marty’s wedding dress. There’s those two non-functioning lamps I’ve been promising to fix for at least 5 years. I know we have a basement. It was there when we moved into the house 14 years ago. Man, there’s a lot of stuff down there.
But there’s a lot of essential stuff, too. Our furniture, pictures of the granddaughters (these do NOT get stuffed into a drawer already full of stuff), cooking utensils, the pantry, about a zillion and 26 books. You know, essential stuff we could not live without. Some of it we got on a good sale. Boy, we needed that stuff. I mean, just look in the freezer! Good sales. But then, we had to bypass a good sale because there isn’t room to stuff more stuff into the freezer.
Then there are the times I get stuff to do a project. (I’m replacing the railing on our deck now, for example) Well, to do projects like this, you have to get stuff. And there always seems to be stuff left over when the project is finished. What do I do with it? Why, I stuff it into an old coffee can and stuff it onto a shelf full of similar stuff in the garage. What else am I supposed to do with this stuff? I might need it when I do my next project, don’t ya know. Now, if I could only remember where I stuffed it and what kinda stuff I stuffed away. I need to develop an inventory file of stuff and stuff it into the file cabinet where I have all the receipts from 1976 stuffed away.
Over the past year, we’ve been systematically going through our stuff. Thank heaven my loving wife is more willing to part with stuff than I am. In reality, so much of our stuff is junk. Those lamps go out this next Friday.
Now, let’s look at this from a different perspective. Just how much emotional stuff have we all accumulated over the years? How much guilt? And where do we keep all this stuff? If we don’t get rid of it, we have to keep it somewhere, don’t we?
Well, we heap it up in our heads, cram it into our hearts. Both tend to get chock full of stuff. We pile it up so high on our shoulders, we can’t carry anything else. How much stuff do each of us have on our shoulders?
Sometimes, our heads, hearts and shoulders are so darned full of this stuff, we can’t accumulate any more. So, like the storage shed, we build up walls around us, so no more stuff can get in. Of course, the junky stuff can’t get out, either.
Man, we all just have too much stuff!
So, what shall we do with this kinda stuff?
First, knock a hole in the wall so stuff crammed inside can be tossed out. For most of us, at least at some time in our lives, the walls are ready to burst anyway. So, burst a hole in it. You needn’t use force, just get a bigger hammer.
Now with our physical stuff, we can give it away, have a garage sale, recycle, donate it, put it in the trash or just burn it! But nearly all of us need to get rid of a lot of stuff.
With the other stuff, Jesus tells us to lay it at His feet. Some of the necessary stuff, He will pick up. Most of it simply disappears. Stuff often = junk!
But as we make room, by getting rid of the unnecessary stuff in our lives, we find that we have room for the really essential stuff.
When we clean out this stuff, in our hearts and minds, we make room for the Spirit to do His thing! Sure makes it a lot easier if He doesn’t have to work His way around a lot of piled up stuff.
But we need to accumulate some stuff here, too. When we are abundantly blessed, take the extra blessings and store them away. Not in a coffee can, but in our hearts.
You never know when something left over from the last project is exactly what you need for the next one.
UPDATE:Life around our house has gotten a whole lot simpler since this blog was originally written. We’ve “de-stuff” a lot.
Even better, at least for me, I’ve done MAJOR housecleaning of mind and heart. What a huge difference. I have to say, it’s all to the better, too.
It is the season of gift giving. Except for a very few things for our granddaughters we’re not giving more stuff to anyone. Nor do we want to accumulate nay more stuff ourselves.
Where in the past we have given gifts, there will be a small envelope. Enclosed will be a small card saying: “A gift in your name has been made to bring water to the children of Ghana.”
Now that’s some pretty good stuff!
Alive in The Word