- Religion and Philosophy
"STUFF!" & Style Over Substance!
Written 07/16/09 - Stuff
~"Stuff", so simple yet so complex when theres to much of it, stuff can become overwhelming, heck, theres even a couple of tv shows about it now. I've not watched any of the shows, but I've seen them advertised, people with so much stuff that they need "help" to get rid of it. Some are just pack rats, some "collectors" and then some just lost control and got overwhelmed. So much for simplicity in this era in America of "more", please, don't be upset, I'm not picking on anyone inparticular. As a matter of fact, I don't think I know anyone who doesn't contend with some level of this "accumulation" epidemic sweeping the Nation.
~This whole writing is based on my own recent experience with "stuff", yup sure enough, I've known for sometime that we as a family have far to much stuff, but it was when vacuuming a couple of weeks ago that the density and overflow of it really hit me. You see as I was running the vac, I had to keep moving "stuff", it was a constant, more and more in the way. truth be told most of the "stuff' if the house burned down tomorrow wouldn't even be missed! It's just, well quite frankly crap, man o man this country has become great at marketing and impulse shopping, and when you have a family of 4 in a small home the impact hits quick.
~Having somewhat younger children, the little baubles and trinkets that they acquire and accumulate really rack up quick. Heck, we clean out their stuff in boxes at least every 6 months, often merely 3 or 4 months apart. I get irked when I do finally part with some meaningless "thing" and it seems as quick as it's gone (after holding onto it for years) then I finally need it. Some things, basically trash from the get go just doesn't seem as such, coffee cans are a great example of that, especially the newer plastic tub ones, they seem so potentially handy, what with that little handle and all. Actually I'm sure they are really handy, I've had cause to use like 2 of them already, although at this rate the other 2 dozen I have tucked to the side may not get put into action so quickly.
~A sadder thing is all the stuff we have thats considered "collectable", my gosh a decade or two ago things got and became collectors items at an alarming rate, and then eBay hit the scene enmass and everything became a possible money maker, making it even harder to get rid of stuff because it may be worth something. In the area I live in there seems to be a not for profit thrift store on every corner, that means they survive off of donations of "stuff" people give them to sell. Basicaly someone is tired of storing stuff, so the thrift store "holds" it until someone else comes in and lays down money for it and becomes the new guardian of the "stuff' in question.
~I know, I know, "duh Jimm, state the obvious", but it's just crazy, have you ever gone to clean the house and spend more time moving "stuff" than you do cleaning? This is especially prevelant when dusting, unless you dust around the stuff. Where did this obsession with stuff come from? I mean, I don't remember it being that way when I was growing up. I see the travel channel and other programs on tv, other countries don't seem to have this issue - they are far more streamlined, thats been my goal lately, in the back of my mind I've been conspiring to have a more "zen like" flow around me, I mean the "stuff" can be come an annoying hindrance! When people go to move these days it can be insane! More time often gets spent packing little trinkets than it actually takes to move, then once you arrive at the new place it may be years before you get everything unpacked and out again.
Some More Stuff
~Some stuff actually represents something special perhaps, maybe all the cute little teddy bears from every valentines day, or the boxes that the choclates came in that was "novel" and might be useful later for "?something?' - yeah. I suffer from a style over substance problem in some areas, yes, I'm making a confession here, when it comes to Christianity especially I've gone overboard at times with Inspirational Trinkets, Crosses, Decorative Artwork or Desk Accessories - like somehow the mere presence of these things would draw me closer to God, or Him to me. As though God cares if my Candle Holder has a Scripture Verse on it, or if I write with a Jesus pen (as though that would make my words more Holy). I'm telling you, I do not know what goes on in my head (or anyone elses) that often justifies this stuff in my or our minds. All I know is that for awhile I've been trying to thin things out, and sometimes it's tough, you hate to part with some ridiculous things, guess thats why they were bought in the first place, they seem to have some meaning or appeal.
~Now, as we all face these difficult economic times I'm sure the "buying" is down, which may be good news, we can all have yard sales, donating what's left that doesn't sell to all the local thrift stores. Of course if were all traveling the yard sales then were really just swapping and trading "stuff". Of course many of us want to sell the excess at this time, donating is nice but everyone could use the extra cash too. The saddest reality of it all, is that if God called us home tomorrow, all the "stuff", no matter how precious, valuable, or cherished the "stuff" - even family heirlooms, means a great big nothing. Yet, so many people are freaking out over loosing "stuff', it's not their souls, it's "stuff". Theres some sort of "rule" about stuff, I think it's along the lines of "if you haven't used it in a year" it's not needed. There are some exceptions to this, like the tool box or the sewing box, but this certainly applies to clothes, unless your waiting for them to come into "style" again, as for me, I've got that one beat, I only buy/wear stuff that never goes out of style these days. (although that is subject to opinion) LOL
The End of Stuff
~In the end, this is in essence a totally irrelevant writing, maybe and sort of. The greater point of it, hopefully laced with bits of humor, to salve the wounds, is that I'm talking to people everyday that are losing stuff, most of it likely nothing of great value in the grand scheme of things. If were finding our value in our things, we are really lost. I'm not even applying this statement just to Christians and Christianity - it doesn't matter if your an athiest, if all your joy, worth and value is tied up in material possessions your off track, unless of course theres a religion I haven't heard of and your god is "material gain", then I could see where you might be "on track".
~Often failure and loss brings us back stronger and better. I can only speak from my own experience, but coming from someone whos "lost it all" before and has "regained & reclaimed", yet stands on the brink of seeing it all tank again, I know that it's only stuff, true joy and happiness is in the people and life that I have. Last time I lost it "all" some people I cared about were included in that loss. This time around thats not at issue, if it were, that would be their "issue", if indeed a relationship is based on "stuff", and material gain, than it's not a genuine relationship. I trust God and His provision, for those hurting and suffering, please consider the option of God in Christ - especially before you do something extreme. I mean if your ready to throw in the towel, heck at least give God a fair chance, what do you have to lose?
~ps - In no way is this writing meant to undermine success, capitalism or free will. This is purely about individual choices and the reality of our material lust which means nothing at the end of the day. I don't think theres anything "wrong" with having "stuff", but if you can't live without it, or it makes your life more difficult then it's very likely "trash".