Make Mine a Handkerchief
Consumerism and accumulation are the seedy sidekicks of materialism. Sad to say, I keep company with all three of those characters far too much.
I'd define consumerism as a Kleenex approach to life. Buy it, use it, pitch it. Repeat.
Accumulation is getting a Costco-sized palette of Kleenex. Just in case.
In contrast, stewardship is a handkerchief approach to life. Buy it, use it, wash it, fold it neatly, use it again. And again. And again. As long as it lasts.
Here's the conversation I've had with myself this week as I've wandered around my home, getting ready for the upcoming holidays:
Hey you! In the mirror! Wipe off that frothy moustache and put down the Starbucks cup. Yeah you. How many times this month did you re-route your errands so you could swing by for your "fix"? Is there perhaps a missionary you know that could buy some Bibles or supplies with that extra money you're plunking down for a Venti Fill-in-the-Blank?
Excuse me. Yes, you. In the mirror. Would you kindly count the number of black shoes in your closet? Now kindly REcount how you recently got rid of a perfectly good pair because they were slightly scuffed and no longer seem to coordinate with your wardrobe. How many black shoes are too many? How many shoes are too many? Wanna talk about purses and bags too? (Ummm... the addict in me says... N O.)
Hey lady. Yeah, I'm talking to you and your cosmetological self. How many shades of nail polish do you own?
Oh, let me count the ways of fancy lotions, smelly shampoos and hair tonics thou keepest near perchance occasion. Seekest thou another fragrance, come Yuletide? Fie! Shalt thou hoard the rainbow? Shalt thou seize the scented fields for thine privy trousseau? A pox upon thee, if 'tis true!
Books- (I LOVE books!) How about, Lady in the Mirror, instead of buying your books new, you see what the local library's got? How about we try to work that interlibrary loan system a little bit? How about we ask friends if they might have the book that we can borrow and return unharmed? ;)
Bibles- How many ya got? How many ya reading? Regularly?
Ahem. Ma'am? Yes, the one shopping for more Christmas wrapping paper. You there, the one that looks like the same lady with all those black shoes. What are you doing on the Christmas wrap aisle when you've got yards and rolls of wrapping paper carefully stowed away? Yes I know, the new designs are so cute this year. Yes, your children would flip for Care Bears frolicking in the snow. But you already HAVE paper. Lots. Loads. Hoardes. Put the paper down and back away, nice and slow. That's it.
You there! In the mirror! What are you planning to do with that plastic tub full of socks, waiting for a sock famine?! Either use them or find someone who WILL.
All of this thinking and self-examination started because I have one daughter in particular that is easily overwhelmed by the amount of clothing she owns. It's not an abnormally large wardrobe in my opinion, but the sweet little thing has a right-brained mind.
Remembering to fold it, to keep it in the drawer, on the hanger, in the hamper... is too much for her to bear. Not being naturally skilled at keeping on top of her laundry and clothing, she's frazzled.
I realized have been trying to get her to tackle life like it's a box of Kleenex, when she is far better suited for handkerchiefs.
So I have challenged myself. In two areas.
1) Use-Your-Stash Challenge
What have I got languishing in my pantry? What's been passed over so many times as I reach for the favorite food group, that I just don't even see it anymore? Clam chowder, Saltines, a can of kidney beans, Jello packets. What's lurking in there that is taking up space and NOT being used? Use your stash, Erin! Become a gourmet and invent a recipe that incorporates a few of those "foods of mysterious origin."
I also have a big bin of fabric in my basement that is sitting there, waiting for "someday."
Well, Mr. Big Bin of Fabric, "someday" starts on Wednesday. (evil eye and finger pointing at the overflowing bin in the corner) We're taking our Thanksgiving roadtrip to TN, and that there fabric has a 9 hour date with destiny. Bwhahahahaha!
Anyone else got a stash they want to use? Socks? Straws? Canned ham? Toilet paper? Crayons?
2) Meet my coffee pot
This old girl came to me by way of my mother, who came by it when her church was getting rid of it in favor of a perky new percolator. (Punny, no?) Mom may have even fished it out of the church dumpster... but let's not go there.
Ol' Whitey works perfectly fine, though she's not much to look at. Between you and me, all she does is brew. That's it. No frothing, grinding, steaming, or whizzing. J u s t b r e w i n g.
I've been wanting a new coffee maker for several years now, and thought that this year I might ask for one for Christmas. Something deluxe. Something sleek and shiny. Something that does more than j u s t b r e w. I mean, if I'm expected to give up Starbies to help support a missionary, I gotta have SOME compensation, right?
I think though, that after all this simplicity talk, I'm going to keep the old girl around until she breathes her last Hazelnutty breath. I think I'm going to learn to be content with the coffee Ol' Whitey makes. (It really is good coffee.) I reject the idea that in order to be content I need the latest-and-greatest. I reject that part of my flesh that desires to consume and dispose, consume and dispose, accumulate, accumulate, consume and dispose.
I think, like Ellie, I'm better suited for handkerchiefs too.