Have you ever been to an estate sale? A true estate sale, as in everything in the house is for sale, from the piano to the bed linens. Ryan and I went to one this weekend (which is not pictured here, this is an outdoor shop).
I was pulled in two directions. First: people swarming like vultures on someone else's stuff. Someone who had carefully cleaned and pressed her hand-embroidered linens, probably not realizing she shouldn't bother this last time because there wouldn't be another use by her.
We all rifled through and poured over each little item, grabbing and clutching what we deemed worthy of possession. It was weird. And exciting. A snoop's dream. That last thought made me chuckle as I browsed someone else's closet, a camel colored mohair coat, some golfing shoes and a stack of caps.
I wanted to take home an old mint green, metal sewing machine. $25. I imagined the woman spending hours there, creating for herself and her loved ones and wondered if sewing was to her what it means to me and if we would have been friends in another time. I'm still kind of sad about it, but just a little bit because as we walked from room to room, I kept thinking, those people aren't here anymore, but their stuff is. We don't get to take stuff with us.
Ryan is anti-stuff. He loves the traditional Japanese culture of simplicity and minimalism. Fold up your bed for the day and the room has a different function for the next 12 hours. He has a good point. We have crammed 8 people in a small 3 bedroom house.
But he married me. I really like stuff. Not figurines and mindless collections, per se, but I like the pretty.I have a huge garbage bag full of stuff to take to Good Will. It's been sitting there far longer than it should have been, but I find I am reluctant...but what if I need that sweater to make something out of, or what if someone asks where that stuffed rabbit is and breaks down in tears because it is gone forever or or or?
Our attachment to things is a funny thing. It makes me wonder if that sweet old couple was watching people rummage through their earthly possessions from above, holding hands, all the while yelling down to us that things don't really matter!
Spend more time and worry about people and how you treat them and if the tone of voice you used was kind and if you made sure they knew they were loved as you sent them off to work and school.
Making a house a home is important, and it is also important to create an environment where you feel peace and happiness, but. But. Stuff gives a momentary thrill while those with whom you build relationships, tending to those details more than the stuff, is where satisfaction and fulfillment come.
People are more important than things, my mom always says.
I would pick things up and put them down as I tried to talk myself out of needing them. I'm trying to become better at that. I came home with a single, small purchase intended for a gift that truly needed to come home with me (I told you I'm still working on it!)
But, when we stopped on our little day trip over the weekend at this pictured quintessential exemplification of STUFF, I said to Ryan, okay, but if you had to get something, what would you get?
That, he said.