Sunday, September 16, 2007

shoes and ships and sealing wax

I like things.

I used to feel badly about this, as if every material possesion I loved was one more thing between me and God. I don't feel that way now. When I touch or see or enjoy something beautiful, something tied to some great memory in my life, or something that makes me laugh, I feel anything but far from Him. See my beautiful Swedish candle holders? They hang in my window, two in this one, one in another. I love them because my friend thought of me all the way in another country, bought me these gifts, and carried them back across the ocean for me. I read once that when trying to reduce clutter, you must throw out anything that is not either useful, beautiful, or which holds sentimental value. I haven't achieved any such purging yet, but I try and think this way. These candle holders satisfy all the rules.

My grandmother recently moved out of her home and will be living with her children throughout the different seasons of each year. And during the move we all went into her home and sorted through her things. And we took what we wanted. She kept a few items for herself, but the rest of the house was up to us. As I carefully chose a gorgeous black elephant from her elephant collection and touched the bindings of each of her books, I couldn't imagine it - Outliving my love for things. I assume it will happen of course. I think surely we kind of let go slowly as we move closer to the next life.

I've found that my happiness is sort of tied to things, but not in a way that concerns me, or I think, would concern God. I noticed in college that when I was especially at peace, I then had a list of wants - always little things - a book, that CD I heard recently, a new journal and pen. It was as though the truly important things, love and friendship and faith, were secure and my soul was free to have a wish list. When the important things were rocky, I wanted nothing but for them to be fixed. I was too gloomy to wish.

So now, whenever I think to myself, "Oh wouldn't it by nice to have . . . ", I pause and smile at the sheer realization that I must be in a peaceful sort of place. And it holds true for the things I already have as well. If I can quiet myself enough to enjoy the shape of that beautiful black elephant and to watch the sun streak through the Swedish candles - it's very good. I will be able to let go of them when the time comes. But for now, enjoying them is a sign for me - that all is well with my soul.


Ello said...

I just had to say your candle holders are incredibly beautiful. I would never give them away!

Kathy N. said...

This is a great picture. These candle holders aren't even my things, and they make me happy.

Matt Bowman said...

Yeah, I used to be the guilt king. "Uh-oh, I'm kind of happy. God is bound to be ticked off about that." Weird.

On another note, I just wanted you to know I've started blogging again and it's all your fault.

fashionista said...

Hello Serenity: I was very touched when I read your story. I can certainly identify with your posts on "things". I'm quite a bit older than you and a cancer survivor as well. I too feel my enjoyment/love of material possessions, especially anything connected to fashion-clothes, shoes, magazines, etc. may come between me and God.

I see your magazine is In Style, mine is Vogue whether American, or British. It is good to know there are other Christian women out there who enjoy "things".

I too think the candle holders are beautiful.