Last week in “Crossing Bridges Instead of Building Walls”, I talked about how challenging it is for many of us to keep taking “leaps of faith” and “putting ourselves out there” in order to develop relationships that are significant, meaningful and honoring.
Today I’m going to talk about bridges one more time. This last installment, in the “Crossing Bridges” series, is about the physical stuff in our lives.
I have clients who recently built a gorgeous, new home in a “55 plus” community. When I first visited their former home, I was incredibly impressed by how beautiful and clutter-free it was. My client told me that she and her husband have been together since high school. The “grew up” together and he always believed in a “less is more” philosophy and she adopted that as well. When they built the new place, they took only what was most important to them. We created a beautiful color palette and added new furnishings to complete the home. It is absolutely stunning. I’m sharing this not because this couple is very successful and have the resources to build a new home or because they have a great relationship and honor each other, but because they figured out how to not get caught up in having so much physical stuff.
When you have fewer possessions, what you do have has more value.
A dear friend is in the process of getting her home ready to sell. Her beloved husband died, unexpectedly and suddenly, a little over a year and a half ago. She has a pretty large house and it’s been a process purging, sorting, packing and updating. One of the interesting things about watching her walk through this process is how unattached she is to most of the possessions. Her three daughters, her grandson, her parents, her friends and her spiritual walk are where she places her value. The belongings that matter most to her are items with sentiment attached to them. She’s much more concerned about relationships than stuff.
Wherever you are in your life, right now, chances are good you have some physical “baggage”. We hang onto things for a lot of reasons. Sometimes it seems a lot easier to put our energy into our belongings than our connections with other people.
It’s often challenging to leave behind the “stuff of our lives”, isn’t it? We’re bombarded by messages that constantly shout at us “this is what you need to own to be successful, to be important, to matter“; “THIS is what’s going to make your life better”. It’s difficult to hear over the constant “buy, buy, buy” that’s shouted at us. Sometimes we feel “less than” if we don’t have what (it seems) everyone else has. Some people live for what they can buy next. Stuff, not experiences or relationships, is what brings them the most joy. They always drive an amazing car, they change out their wardrobes every season, they have all the latest technology, they consume and consume and consume, but at what cost?
Of course, there are possessions that matter to me, but they’re not the ones that have financial weight attached to them; they’re the ones that have emotional weight- the photographs of my daughters growing up, the pieces of art my grandchildren have created for me, the notes of love and encouragement from people who care about me. Sure, there are things that I enjoy having in my home. Absolutely, I want my home to be welcoming and in good shape and comfortable. Certainly, I believe in making home a place that speaks to you; that you can’t wait to get home to, but if you asked me to choose only a few THINGS that I could keep, they would be the photos, the notes written in love, the children’s drawings.
Last night Larry and I were planning on going out with two of our closest friends to celebrate something wonderful that’s happening in their lives. We ended up having to cancel because we were snowed in. We took something out of the freezer to heat up and I was conscious of all those who don’t have the option to open a freezer and find food. In this unscheduled time, I took a hot bath and I thought about how many people don’t have clean water to drink, let alone the ability to fill a bathtub with water, relax and then open the drain. I sat down with a cup of hot tea and we watched Downton Abbey and I realized that no matter how cold it was outside, I have the awesome privilege of being in a warm, safe home.
Some folks believe they NEED all the “stuff” of life.
Most of us have so very much more than we could EVER really use or enjoy.
Like everything is life, balance is critical.
Running across a shiny, new bridge is great if you’re looking for a fresh start.
If what you’re running to is shiny, new STUFF then maybe you have to think about what really matters.
On the other side of that coin,
if you put everything else “on hold” to accumulate and take care of possessions,
by the time you actually “get” what’s important, that bridge may be falling down.
If you’re taking your time crossing a bridge so that you can enjoy the experience, that’s a wonderful thing.
If you’re bridge-crossing is hindered by all the stuff you’re dragging behind you,
you might not appreciate the view or the experience.
Some bridges are easier to cross than others, aren’t they?
Some bridges are shiny and new and you want to be the first one to use them.
Some bridges are very dilapidated and may fall apart before you get the chance to cross them.
Some bridges are beautiful structures and you take your time and enjoy the stroll.
Some bridges are unbelievably long and you feel like you’ll never get to the other side.
Some bridges are very strong and invite you to bring everything you want with you.
Some bridges have weight limits and you’re carrying so much STUFF that you might just fall through (heaven forbid, you leave the junk behind).
Some badges are REALLY high and the view is amazing.
Some bridges are REALLY high and test your courage.
I think we all cross high bridges from time to time. Depending on where we are in our lives that trek can be amazing or it can truly test our courage.
My prayer for you this week is that you cross bridges that bring you to joy and to love and to a blessed, peace-filled life,
©2015 Peace Full Home/Intentional Living