***originally posted April 28, 2010
I’m almost done with Don Miller’s Through Painted Deserts. I’m down to the last few chapters and I feel strangely reluctant to finish it. It’s as if in turning the last page I will have to bid Don and Paul goodbye, and I’m having too much fun right now.
At this point, there is one thing that stands out and it’s really simple: I have too much stuff. In all three floors of my house, including the house itself. Not to mention the stuff in the trunk of my car, my purse, and my heart. Too much stuff.
Lately, when I’m not wailing, I’m contemplating. And this adventure through Miller’s painted deserts just affirmed the thoughts that God has been laying on my heart.
I suppose one can’t rightly consider it sacrifice if I give up things that I don’t really care much for? Like a closet full of the latest styles, or shoes that match every outfit, or the newest phone? I suppose, since I really don’t mind wearing the same pair of sneakers with every pair of jeans I have (at least the ones that aren’t too long) and I’m not worried that my children don’t go to an exclusive school, I can’t rightly claim that my life is simpler because of the absence of these things?
But there are many other things I care about. And when it comes to these, I find the struggle too real.
I’ve always wanted a house with a wrap around porch, an acre of land around, and an orchard and rose garden in the back. I want country furniture, the beds covered with shabby chic sets and the furniture from some antique store that specializes in old country styles. I want the walls between bedrooms covered with Amish quilts with intricate patterns, and my kitchen wall displaying my collection of dishes and tea sets.
I want year round plane tickets to Prince Edward Island (PEI). I want to see Green Gables in the dead of winter, walk through Lovers Lane in the spring, visit Matthew’s grave in the summer and roam the island in the fall. I want to see ghosts of Anne as I visit her favorite places and meet her memories face to face. I want to be Anne anytime I want, and I want to sit by her bedroom window and look over to Diana’s home and find her signaling for me.
I want my children to go to the best university they can get into. I want them to have that in their portfolio as we release them to life. I want them to have music lessons, I want them to play soccer in the summer, and dream in bedrooms that other boys could only wish for. I want to give my children the best this world has to offer.
I want my husband to have that car he’s always wanted. I want to be the one to buy it for him. I want to see that look on his face when I hand him the keys and tell him to go ahead and drive it home. I want his eyes to reflect who I want to be: the best wife in the world.
So if these are the things I have to give up, would that make the ultimate sacrifice?
I was talking to God during my walk today. I told Him I knew there was so much baggage in my life and that He wanted me to do something about it. I asked Him about Narnia and how the real Narnia turned out to be a perfect version of the old one. I asked Him if heaven was really going to be like that–would that mean there was a perfect version of PEI up there? Would He make my mansion a country home with a wrap around porch? Would He bless my children with scholarships? And of course, I’m guessing Steve won’t need a car then, as I am assuming we’ll at least be able to fly.
I have no idea what He was thinking as I rambled on. I imagine heaven defies anything I can conjure, especially since all I have to build on is what I see in this fallen world.
Reading about Don and Paul’s “hike” in the Grand Canyon reminded me of my own hike up Old Rag Mountain. There was no load on my back, but even the clothes I was wearing and the shoes I had on seemed too heavy as I climbed the last few miles. I have no idea where I am in this journey of mine, but if these next few days prove to be the last ones, will I be sprinting to the finish line, or will I be bogged down by all that I choose to bring with me?
See, the problem with stuff is they steal my affections. And between them, and my own liking for my self, there isn’t much left. Not nearly enough to satisfy the One who deserves it all in the first place.