I live in a small town of barely more than 10,000 people. There are, however, not one but two self-storage businesses within a five mile radius. Imagine my surprise to see red earth and bulldozers in a field less than two miles away from my home with a “Coming Soon: Self Storage” sign affixed to a newly erected construction fence. Soon there will be three self-storage businesses that will be happy to hold on to my stuff.
I guess my mind is on storage “crap” today because I am getting up the nerve to clean out the dreaded CLOSET UNDER THE STAIRS. I could probably have my daughter film a horror movie out of that one. The closet, I’m afraid to say, is so packed and jumbled that a person has to bend over and climb over mountains of junk just to get to the back. What is supposed to be a coat closet for guests has become a catch-all of all the stuff I don’t know what to do with. There’s a Dora the Explorer game my daughter played with six years ago…it’s missing about half its pieces, but for some odd reason it moved to Texas with us. We have a solid brass bar sink in there somewhere. Yes…you read that correctly. There is even a SINK in the closet! My in-laws gave it to us when they moved. The original intent was to “one day when we win the lottery” put in a bar upstairs and use the brass sink. Other goodies include a baby gate, tupperware plastic bins filled with half-completed photo albums, assorted pillows, black widow spiders (probably), and a set of doggie pooper-picker-upper baggies that we’ve never used. When I get off this chair and pull everything out, I’ll probably have more interesting things to report.
What I refuse to do, however, is to buy storage for my junk.
I think Americans (including myself!) have enjoyed so many blessings that when hard times hit, we have a whole generation (mine) that does not know how to do without. My parents’ generation knew all about pulling up those bootstraps and “making do” with what you have — and being grateful for it. People saved and re-used aluminum foil. They grew their own vegetables and froze or canned what they couldn’t eat right away so they’d have food in the winter. They bought modest houses and made the children share bedrooms and even (gasp) sometimes made sisters share a bed.
Fast forward to my generation. When my husband and I bought our first home with an FHA loan, we had to jump through many hoops to be approved. My husband had to provide letters and other documentation about his overtime pay. I had to provide proof that I would indeed be a teacher again the following year. We did not know for sure if we were qualified until the day they called us to sign the papers. As frustrating as it was for us to keep providing “one more thing” to the loan company, I understood why they were being so cautious. We were first-time home buyers. We did not have established credit, and it would have been irresponsible of them to provide a loan to someone who they knew could not — or would not — pay it back.
Since that time, we have sold and bought four more houses. (Lots of cross country moves, you see.) Each time, it got easier and easier. I thought at the time this was because we’d established credit — and that’s probably part of it — but I know in retrospect that lenders were purposefully relaxing the rules and making risky loans. For example, before we even looked for a home, we called our lender to see how much of a loan we could afford. By our third house, they told me to first find a home and then come to them with the amount!
No wonder the housing market crashed.
Americans kept wanting bigger and bigger houses. We had to have extra bathrooms. Media rooms became all the rage…game rooms are great places to corral the kids. I’m not knocking down the American Dream of prosperity. I’m just trying to get a handle on MY part of this, from a godly perspective.
I’m squirming in my seat to read these words from Jesus in Luke 12:
When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other!
In light of the images captured on this short video,
I can see very vividly how people today are divided against each other. It’s not just Democrats vs. Republicans. That’s a very narrow view of the world. God sees us all. There is no Jew or Greek or master or slave or rich or poor in Christ. Many of these extremely poor people are believers…praise God! They have hope, and in God’s kingdom, they will be WAAAAYYY ahead of me. Many more are not believers. Can you imagine what it must be like to watch your own children starve to death right in front of your eyes without having God to lean upon? How do they do it?
The Lord requires much of me…because He gave so much…because He’s given me so much.
So, it’s back to the closet. I’m going to try to get organized. But what to do with the stuff I’m not going to keep? What do you do with the “junk” in your house?
Because I’ve always wanted to do a poll, this seems like as good a place as any to include one:
Perhaps if we all dug through our closets…and our cabinets…and our drawers…we’d find a new use for old stuff so we could, like our parents, learn to “make do” with what we have instead of running out and buying more. Better yet, maybe we can find someone in need — at church, through homeless shelters, through a friend of a friend — who would be very blessed to have our old stuff.