Friday, February 4, 2011

ponderings from yet another temporary abode

I remember when I bought my first car. It was a small-ish car, definitely on the cheaper side, but it was brand new and it was the one I wanted, and I paid for it with money I'd earned. For the first few months I was in awe of the fact that I owned this thing that took up a whole parking space! I'd park in my assigned spot at work and look at my green Toyota and feel a little proud and quite overwhelmed that something this big was mine.

Then I wondered what it would feel like to own an entire house! Surely that would not be a good feeling, even though it was the natural course of life. It seemed strange to own something that was bigger than me.

That was more than ten years ago. Since then I've sold the car and given away a house's worth of other things. I now own little of value other than a macbook, ipod, e-reader, coffee press, and some brilliant portable speakers. It can all fit in my purse and a carry-on, and it frequently does. My less-valuable possessions fill another suitcase or two.

Last year I was reading a blog by a journalist in Indonesia right after the West Sumatra earthquake. She mentioned how at the end of a busy day, there was nowhere safe for her to stay, so she found an empty dry corner in a warehouse where all the aid workers were staying, pulled her jacket over her as a blanket and went to sleep. I moved there and left the lovely four-bedroom house that my job had rented for me to go help re-build shelters for families who lost houses in that earthquake. In Indonesia, unlike the journalist, I did get a room to myself!

Living in Sue Dan, I learn daily of people travelling from north to south. If they can pack up their entire houses, they do. Usually, they have a little bag with them, and it's sadly not uncommon for their slight belongings to be lost on the journey.

Currently, my world consists of a bed, two nightstands, my carry-on suitcase, and my macbook. I'm comfortable and happy, but I don't even sleep in a room with a door - the bed is in the hallway. I don't know what to make of this. Am I infinitely privileged in my flexibility? Or am I missing out because, with just a few key decisions, I could actually own something?

1 comment:

Lisa notes... said...

Consider yourself super-BLESSED to be able to find contentment with so few possessions. Ownership isn't all its cracked up to be; our stuff is all temporary anyway; it's really just stewardship.

Thanks for sharing this perspective. I pray it helps me and others as we ponder it...

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