Monday, October 31, 2011

Living Simply

Before I even read today's Magnificat's meditation by Caryll Houselander, I have been trying to simplify our family.  Getting rid of excess things in our home is a priority for me. One of the main reasons I am focusing on this is because of Matthew 6:19 :“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.  But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."

Scripture source

The above passage became very clear to me when my father died. My mom was left with the family home and all the possessions they and we and accumulated over the years. We were in such a hurry to help my mother that we hurriedly tried to get rid of as much of my father's things are we could. I see now that it interfered with the time my mother needed to grieve.  My dad was a collector of movies and baseball cards. Those items entertained him while he was alive but they only caused my mother to be burden with them after he died.

Then there is an elderly friend. She really has no family members left. She also has a house full of things she collected over the years, including many she collected when she traveled the world. It is sad to see her give away her precious things to "friends" and acquaintances such so she has the comfort of knowing they would be in good hands. She knows her time on earth is short.

I don't want to burden my son with the things his father and I have in our home. I think it is time to let go of material possessions and to really start concentrating on storing up treasures in heaven. Many things we have are kept for sentimental reasons. Even a little scrap of paper my mom wrote me a note on seems to precious to throw away. I mentioned that to my mom and she just laughed.

The following is the Caryll Houseland meditation I mentioned above.  I hope to have a "poor" home like the one she describes. That would be heavenly.
"To be rich is to live in an overcrowded house, a house of life overcrowded with false values; they encumber like useless heirlooms. They ought to be thrown out of the windows bu the courage and the virility to do this are lacking...

Poverty is like one room. The windows are open, the sun comes in, the walls are whitewashed, there are one or two books chosen for our delight, they are read and re-read; if there is a picture it is one bought at the cost of sacrifice because it is a real joy, we see it because there is no bric-a-brac to distract from it. There is one earthenware pot that holds water, and the wild flowers know in it their affinity to earth and rain. This room is a workroom, it it we learn the joy of good work, done well, and of the real charity, the fellow-feeling, of working with others..."

There is a great spiritual danger in being attached to things and that includes animals. Recently we lost our beloved dog. The pain my husband and I felt was intense. I wanted to cry out "Why me!, Why me!" But then I asked "Why not me?" I recalled the immeasurable pain our Lady suffered when she lost her beloved and innocent Son, our Lord. How can I even dare to complain of my pain. How can I get to Heaven if I cannot even carry this little cross without needing comfort. I can't.

It is not easy to let go or to get rid of things. But it will all be worth it not only at the end but also now because we will have more time and room for things that working on our treasures to store in Heaven.


Ed Sousa, Sr. said...

Esther, This is a wonderful article that you wrote. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
God Bless

Ed Sousa, Sr. said...

Esther, This is a wonderful article that you wrote. Thank You so much for sharing it with us.
God Bless

Esther G. said...

Thank you Ed. I appreciate it.

Anne said...

Don't you just love Caryll Houselander? My parents were antique dealers and they were very attached to their things. I know that I am a lot like them in many ways. I have binders and binders of letters and cards and stories that I can't bear to part with yet I rarely look at them. I keep thinking that some day when I'm gone my kids will want to look through them and reminisce-but maybe I'm wrong. Could it be that I am just too attached to words and memories? Much to ponder!

Esther G. said...

Anne, I do love her!! I can understand that. My mom kept lots of our report cards, cards we made for her, etc. and it was so much fun reminiscing with her after my father died and she was going through of all those papers. I have a box full of cards from my family. I don't know if my son will want them.