I heard a comedy routine some years ago by George Carlin about STUFF. I still remember it:
“That's all I want, that's all you need in life, is a little place for your stuff, ya know? I can see it on your table, everybody's got a little place for their stuff. This is my stuff, that's your stuff, that'll be his stuff over there. That's all you need in life, a little place for your stuff. That's all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn't have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house. You could just walk around all the time.”
The routine continues to talk about getting so much stuff you need a bigger house for your stuff, you go on vacation and need to take just a bit of your stuff, and after trips you bring home more stuff, etc. It is raw and rough in spots but I love the bit, because it is so dang true. The acquisition of “stuff” is part of the American reality for most.
We are moving this month and going through all of our stuff – decisions about keeping stuff, giving away stuff and moving stuff is a big part of our lives right now. We have bags of stuff to give to Goodwill or some other charitable organization. We have bags of stuff that is going out in the trash. And other stuff is getting packed up to load on a truck and take all the way to our new house – a mere 15 blocks away. But we have to pack up as if we are moving cross country almost.
And the stuff is amazing. Going through your stuff is a kind of archeological dig of sorts. We have talked about items in my son’s room that he wanted to hear the story about. We have talked about priorities in regards to what stuff we have and how we use it – or don’t use it. We have talked about how to decorate the new place with our stuff. And we have talked about the need to acquire less stuff in our lives.
We discovered that we have stuff we have not used in the two years since we moved here – so it is getting tossed or given away unless it is a keepsake. We have stuff that is important so we cannot pack it up until closer to the truck coming to load. We have stuff that has to go with us and stuff that we’re still debating about keeping.
Stuff can weigh us down. Stuff can make us possessive and oppressed. Stuff can separate us from ourselves, from others, and from our God. Stuff is not what God wants for us – God wants faithful living, nurturing relationships, spiritual formation, living missionally, and building family, among others.
Truth is … me and my stuff need a reality check. What is important in my life is not going to fit in the back of the moving truck. I need to remember that fact.
(And I'm not even gonna get into the "unpacking" of my stuff ... that's for another blog)