When Stuff Weighs You Down

Our home: it is an empty shell now, locked up and lonely. Last week, two men wrapped up my great-grandfather’s handcrafted furniture, and boxed up books, European knickknacks, and 69 vinyl records. They packed tight nine and half crates with all we own. 

The afternoon before, I laid on our unmade bed and mentally organized boxes of memorabilia and green glassware given to me after my grandmother died. I counted up the cost of losing vintage Christmas ornaments and my oil paintings. What if they lose my box of journals? 

A week before, I worried rising Hurricane Harvey rainwater would damage our belongings. The expected rain never came. Now I worry our household goods will wash away with Hurricane Irma. What if our shipment is destroyed en route?

God knows I will fall apart if that happens. I know it is just stuff, but it is every journal I have kept since age eight. It is lace great grandmothers crocheted and the green bookshelf I made my freshman year of high school. It is a box of ticket stubs and letters saved from my brother. It is a house of tangible reminders and handmade inheritance pieces. 

I stared at the ceiling, explaining to God again why it all matters so much, explaining that I realize it matters too much. Explaining that even if it is only Zach, Abigail, the dogs, and me that show up safely in Montgomery, we will survive. But I will be sad nonetheless. 

He gets it. He understands the heart he fashioned with his own hands. But he also reminded me that my true inheritance is eternal. Unseen. Kept safe in his own heart for me. Forever. 

So with a peace-filled heart, I packed my Mazda with the silver and valuables packers do not pack and entrusted my household goods to God. What else can I do? 

Our home is an empty shell. I swept up dog hair and considered it is now just a house, just a building. A place. It is less like home without my stuff and family to enliven it. Years from now, this shell of a parsonage will be the setting for my memories of Abigail’s homecoming, wakeful nights, and her debut, toothless smiles. 

I get attached to places, too. 

Yet life is changing seasons and moving on. Why hold on tight? I lose it in the end anyway. What I gain through Christ Jesus outlasts everything, and that is what matters most. 

He is what matters most. 

Today we will drive from San Antonio to Montgomery. We will curiously cruise the Gulf Coast lest the saltwater pushes us north. I pray we arrive safely, and that our stuff arrives safely. I pray I keep trusting God with the trivial things like I trust him with my soul. 

It is just stuff, anyway.

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