I attended a woman’s retreat not long ago and one of the speakers, (let’s call her Lucy, since that’s her name) asked a question I have pondered ever since. She asked, “Does anyone in this group live next to a dump?” Well, we were horrified!!! Of course these fine, southern women would never live by a dump! When no one raised a hand (and who would?), she continued to ask, “Well, have you not walked by your garage lately?”
I don’t know about you, but my mind immediately pictured the half full paint cans from 2003, tools and greasy auto parts scattered everywhere, old beat up cardboard boxes (might need one someday), Christmas decorations that I haven’t used in years but might and the list goes on. I stopped parking my car in the garage years ago because it was full. Seems the clutter grows of its own accord. I am pretty sure someone slips into my garage at night when I am asleep and puts their stuff in my garage!
Lucy went on to say the word “STUFF”. We have too much stuff! Really? She said we like things and we buy them. Clothes, shoes, spoons, thimbles, teddy bears (which happen to be my weakness) and many other things we love and can’t live without. We put them in the closet, on the shelf, propped up by the fireplace, in the garage, wherever and admire them for, oh, maybe a week, a month or a year. Then they become “invisible stuff”. At some point, we walk past them and don’t stop to admire and cherish the stuff. We even forget to dust them.
Because your treasure is invisible, you buy more stuff! Have you ever noticed that every time you need scissors you can’t find them, so you buy a new pair? I probably have 14 pairs of scissors. Evidently all of them are invisible because I can’t find any of them. So when I am at the store this weekend, I’ll get a brand new pair. I know I will keep up with this new pair.
This raises the question, are we good stewards of our money? Invisible stuff makes room for us to buy more stuff which will eventually become invisible so we can buy new stuff. Get my drift? When I stop and think about all the money I have spent on invisible stuff, it hurts my brain and my heart. Should I stop buying things I love to look at? Maybe, maybe not, but it does make me more aware of where my money is going. And looking back I realize that money has become the bottom line for almost everything in life. Yet money can never satisfy.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of its filling a vacuum, it makes one.” Think about that the next time you see “stuff” that you just can’t live without.