I experienced an unfamiliar emotion today.
For the first time in a long time, I felt myself getting jealous of someone.
Or rather, their living environment.
I went with my daughter to check on a cat she was taking care of while one of her friends was out of town. Normally, I would have told her that I would not need to go but the prospect of meeting a new cat decided that for me.
In a short while, I was playing with a tiny orange kitten in a studio apartment. I told my daughter that I had lived in a few apartments like this in the past. She wrinkled her nose a bit when I said that. She has always had more grandiose designs for her eventual home than I have.
I own my home. It was an enormous blessing when I bought it and it has remained so to this day. It’s a small house (it’s only been the two of us, after all) and quite humble.
I have never had any desire for a large home, certainly not an ostentatious one. I have a friend who desires that very thing with a clear passion and when I hear her speak of her plans for her home, I find myself enjoying the excitement I see that blooms within her face but nothing else.
This afternoon, all I could think of was how jealous I was of what appeared to be an even more stripped-down life than the one I am living.
You see, I do not really desire many things, like physical things. I never really have. I have always seen my greatest wealth as what has built up my heart, my art, and my intellect. When you live and think like that, square footage does not satisfy at all.
Then I started thinking of what made my mostly-simple life not so simple in my eyes at that moment.
I went back to a conversation I had with my daughter earlier in the day. We were discussing things of the past. We often do on Father’s Day since my own beloved father is gone and my ex-husband chose quite clearly to not ever be a father to his child.
We get kind of philosophical.
In all that philosophizing, I found have been dragging far more baggage around with me than I ever realized.
This was a shocker because I get rid of things fairly regularly. Even my journals go eventually.
But some things, some musty old things, have remained.
While I will always want a low-maintenance kind of life, it requires you look within and be ready to give up things, especially those that have become the most familiar to me.
The musty things in our hearts and homes are often some of the most familiar.
Living simply means you need to make room for the new, things that are untried and challenging. They may be better but I won’t know that unless they have been tried.
Better solutions are not better until they have been given a good solid go. Until that happens, they remain theories only.
If anything stays, it is because it has a lasting and vital purpose and use. It has been tried and become essential to how I want to live and helpful to get me where I want to go.
Those musty things of memory, of the spirit, and of the physical need to go in my life. They just don’t serve a purpose anymore. They are the extra pounds of life that are harder to get rid of than the ones currently about my midsection.
I have often thought about when Jesus sent the disciples out with just the clothes on their backs, not even a sack of protein bars, a bottle of water and maybe some antiseptic and hand sanitizer. And change. Surely a bit of change. Just in case. That’s not too much.
To me, that would be the equivalent of nothing.
Instead, the disciples went with real nothing and never truly lacked for anything.
I think I am living with a minimum of things and find I have more than I have ever wanted to have.
I have got to be willing to sort through the piles and find the truly valuable and allow myself to let go of the rest.
I still have boxes I packed when I first moved in that I have not unpacked. If I have not thought to look inside those boxes for all of the years I have been in my home, it not only means I do not need those things, it means I have been sheltering much that is not valuable.
When I make get rid of those things and clear out that space, I will see what I really need to have to live like I want to.
Who knows? Eventually, I may find myself in a studio apartment again.
But I will have what is necessary with me to share. It will be more than enough.