I am a wretched ingrate. I have so much to be thankful for and yet I find myself more than a little sad that vacation is over. The traffic. The hustle. The lack of gently swaying palms. The absence of my funny and uplifting man by my side all day and night. These are all unwelcome realities. I know it’s downright absurd to feel this way. People are hungry and persecuted and forgotten all over the world. That’s why I said I’m an ingrate. I am.
But what is the root of such doldrums? I know a perpetual vacation wouldn’t do me any good. Sloth is a sure path to misery. But I’m wondering if stuff is the thief of joy. Maybe part of what makes vacation great — aside from reading my Bible every morning and then watching the sun gently arch its way out of the Atlantic, aside from the therapeutic sound of the waves crashing into the sand interspersed with the laughter of my sons — maybe part of what makes vacation great is the lack of stuff.
We do not have a particularly large house. We do not have trinkets or collectibles or even tons of pictures. I love a counter or table or floor with nothing on it, yet most surfaces in my home are overtaken by paper, or shoes, or clothes. My entryway is a perpetual disaster. Shoes in the Jackson home are surely part rabbit or something. How they proliferate I do not know. I have boys and I swear we hardly ever shop, and they wear uniforms to school. Yet somehow the mounds of laundry look like the domestic version of the Swiss Alps. And I know after thirteen plus years of motherhood these mountains will not be overcome. I’m beginning to think they are part rabbit too.
So here’s my plan for the rest of the week: minimize! I’m going to keep only what we love. If we like it, it’s sayonara. The thievery of stuff, the weight of things, the consumption of time over the maintenance of items that we merely like — these are former problems in the Jackson house. It’s a brand new day, Baby!
Of course, I cannot help but point out that the wisdom of the world — that is often presented as brand new insight — can invariably be found in the Bible. “Essentialism” is a movement and a pretty good book which talks about more than just the accumulation of things. You can find simplicity blogs and books everywhere you look, but Jesus warned us two thousand years ago to be on guard against greed. “Life,” he said, “does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” When the post-vacation blues hit maybe it’s the perfect time to ask if the abundant life God intended for you is diminished by your possessions.
Hold me accountable people. All you need to do is open my front door.