Once again I reorganize, I trade this for that, learn how I have grown to despise more of my things, learn how quieting and relaxing it can be to merely have what one truly desires. A crock-pot in the corner, baskets of food upon the counter. I strive towards that heavenly plane just past boredom where the creativity of the mind flourishes. The quiet peace of solitude and serenity one finds when lost to nature, abandoned on the banks of some long-forgotten stream. The place where one no longer desires more, where a human can be capable of true happiness, appreciating life for what it is…the chance to share and learn and grow, grow ever closer to the Lord which created us in His splendor. It is scary to grow beyond ourselves. It hurts to grow, it is terrifying to reach into the dark recesses of our minds, not knowing quite what we shall find there. Once a person steps into that abyss, however, a joy and peace unrivaled is found to be lurking beyond that fear.
This release and simple beauty is something I needed young. A budding hoarder, I acquired things carelessly and treasured that which was killing me. I clung to the false security of items, of food, of money. I collected soaps and makeups and magazines and books, gathered them to me in great piles of “joy”. To be sure, the collection DID lend me a sort of joy, a giddy happiness which I adored. I, the child who had not been rescued, took pleasure in the rescue of the “lost”, those things discarded for newer, yard sale finds and trophies from other people’s garbage piles. I became known as The Person to Give Old Stuff To. I loved it. I treasured the trash and vowed to use it in some way. I was soon overwhelmed by the sheer volume of my joy, joy that turned to sorrow when my piles would become soiled, discarded, destroyed I became angry at anyone who suggested I had too much. Clearly, I didn’t have enough…didn’t they see this?! Couldn’t they understand?! If only I could put it all in boxes so it would be safe…and so I did.
Time and time again saw me boxing things up, stacking my treasures. That didn’t hurt. I still had them, after all. I had no fear of losing my hard-gathered trinkets, my old scraps of paper, my earrings missing their mates and clothes I detested but might use for a blanket someday. The pain only manifested when the time came to go through those old things and discard that which I no longer needed. Often, the stress was too much and I would end up leaving everything behind in a desperate bid to escape the insanity that was breeding in my closets and spare spaces.
The remedy for my malady was deceptively simple: stop acquiring new things. Get rid of those things which were superfluous and learn again, as I had when a child, to be content in the wanderings of my mind.
What is truly necessary? Warmth. Sustenance. Nothing beyond that is needed, only desired. Warmth itself is relative. No one needs to be kept a balmy seventy-two degrees Fahrenheit ..we merely prefer it. One might argue that as humans we also have the need of mental stimulation, but that is like saying the earth needs to rotate on it’s axis in order to sustain life. It is not important to proclaim or even provide for it…as humans, mental stimulation is something we hunger for and will create in absence of even the most basic “schooling”. Simply being in community and living day-to-day creates many opportunities for growth which are only stifled by the vast amount of artificial stimulation we have created and injected into our lives and the lives of our children.
So what, in life, is needed? Why don’t we turn that thought upside down and instead question…what is hurtful? What detracts from life, what makes it more painful than it need be? In today’s world it is popular to claim that what is good for one may be bad for another. Simultaneously we are taught that to deviate from the norm of our culture’s expectations is tantamount to insanity, child abuse, and perhaps even the evil of leading other’s astray. This can be confusing to both those who feel no need to seek greater and greater heights as well as those who would throw off the shackles they perceive and vault into the sky unhindered. Where is the line, the place to toe? Where does free will and autonomy end and consideration for others begin? How far can we go? Where must we stop? I am infuriated by such questions without answer. I would give a solid one to each, if I could. Alas, I cannot, and the strain is greater than I like to think of rules others should live by. Thank God for the Bible, eh?
Alas, my tortured brain continues to whirl and dance in my head, in my heart. I know not what to make of life, of death, of stress and relaxation. I know only that for myself, peace and quiet are both my greatest enemy and my most trusted, dear friend. Peace and quiet in my head, in my thoughts. Peace and quiet in what I see. Peace and quiet in the noises I hear.
So I strain on, ever onward towards that blissful emptiness, that uncomfortable quiet, that ignorant calm. and I look around and am satisfied with today.