Today’s gospel reading from Mark tells us ‘He ordered them to take nothing for the journey except a staff’. If only I had the confidence to divest myself of absolutely everything I do not currently need. Emptying the house ready for a move has given me a number of insights into myself. For starters why did I need to have 50 gardening books (I never garden!) 60 cook books, 25 knitting books and 200+ business books. If pressed I could argue a case. But the reality is that I ignore gardening tips, get my recipes online and even use YouTube and Ravelry for knitting patterns and tips. Of course many books are gifts and for that reason it is more difficult to part with them. The inscription from the giver reinforces the relationship and remind me what really matters. Then there’s the kitchen and bakeware. Copper pans only used as decorative hangings in the kitchen, French style. Bakeware – what a joke, I rarely bake and have never made a children’s birthday cake in my life. Board games – regularly used on wet Sundays; still used at Christmastime. But 30 of them? No! Then there’s all the stationery. I have always loved paper and pens. This week I had to stop myself buying yet another purple pad from Paperchase. But I have dozens and dozens of pads that I won’t live long enough to use.
The thing about all this stuff is that it is quite tricky to dispose of. Sold some books to Amazon trade-in. American hardbacks gave me the best deal. Sent some books as gifts. Can’t be bothered with a car boot; too cold, too early. EBay a hassle. Cuddly toys and more books to charity shops. Girls have taken furniture, plants, pictures, odds and ends. Loads of bedding, furniture and household items to a local homeless charity. Stationery to schools. Business products to clients. Business books to the university. But still loads left.
So what have I learned as a result of tbis exercise? Firstly, that I can live without most of all this stuff. Much of it I purchased on a whim, to make myself feel better, to reward myself for working hard. Secondly, that whatever it is, the attraction soon fades. There is always a better, improved, more up to date version that you want to upgrade to. Thirdly that these physical items clutter my brain. I spend too much time dusting them, cleaning them, thinking about them but rarely using them. Finally that in the future I will curb my spending, give more stuff away, avoid receiving gifts (unless they are consumables) and focus on what really matters. Like the disciples I will set out for the journey with what I need. But as for only one tunic … I haven’t even started on clothes!