I have a tv. It’s 13 inches diagonal. Not flatscreen. Not HD. Aftermarket remote that has ‘up’ and ‘down’ for the channels and volume (if I’m on channel 45 and want to go to channel 9, I get to flip all the way through to channel 9). Truth be told, the tv isn’t even mine – it’s my parents’.
Over the past few years I’ve been whittling away at the stuff I own. I have gotten rid of countless textbooks that I thought I would use in my career (which never panned out). I have given away dozens of other books on youth ministry, books I loved, books I hated, books I’d been given but never read. I’ve thrown out old letters, old school reports, half-used journals. I’ve tossed a lot of stuff, too. I don’t even know how to even describe it, but it’s just stuff. Gag gifts, gifts from past girlfriends, past friends, acquaintences, things I’ve found, collections, clothes, shoes, tools, things I’ve been wanting to fix, or take apart, or couldn’t get up the nerve to throw away.
There’s been a lot of reasons why I’ve narrowed down what I own to two boxes and some clothes – part of it was because of my many moves, part of it was because I just got tired of actually having it. I think about our worldly possessions and how attached we can be to them, and how important some ‘stuff’ can be to us. I have a small model canoe made of birch bark from the village elders in Alaska; a glass from a restaurant I ate at in Austria; a piece of pottery from an artist in Mexico. I have a pocket knife that my great-grandfather used; a piece off of the Jeep that I wrecked twice; a few old books that my grandfather used when studying the Bible. I don’t know why these things are important to me – if I got rid of them I’m sure I’d still have the memories. But that glass from Austria represented more than just a restaurant – it was from the first mission trip I ever went on and learned about true poverty. The birch bark canoe was a gift made just for me from people who distrust outsiders. The hood latch from the Jeep helps me to remember to drive safely and don’t be in a rush, because it’s not worth it.
So what’s really troubling me is this: I don’t want to keep stuff in my life. The less I have, the better I feel. But honestly, I really want a fancy tv. One that I can watch movies on. And be blown away by the HD 1080p 120hz refresh-rate goodness that comes along with it. Am I content with my little tv? Yeah, I am. But part of me, part of me wants the big, the better, the nicer. Part of me wants the fancy tv, the 2004 Porsche Carrera GT, the house, the woodshop. Part of me wants it all.
But thankfully, the part that doesn’t want any of this stuff is still winning.
much love. sheth.