Last night I unpacked suitcases for six after coming home from an almost two week trip away. Having so many of your belongings shoved into luggage and seeing it all come out again and putting it away in four different rooms made me look at all my stuff a little differently. We have SO much! and all this for a little trip away!
While I wrestled with having so much after seeing family and friends back home with so little, I vowed that all this wanting and getting has got to stop. I spent a good deal of the night thinking this way.
The rest of the night I kept kicking myself for not buying that pair of sandals I desperately needed! but didn't buy because even while I cradled them close to my chest on the way to the cashier I was hit with a sudden burst of conscience. Wants and needs, they are getting so muddled up in here!
Tonight I uploaded all 544 pictures from the few days I took out my camera. Each frame was filled with the faces of loved ones, captures of joyous moments together, and celebrations spent cheering each other on. Faces that smiled through pain, through trial, through unemployment. People who chose to share in joys they could only bear witness to though never experience for themselves.
Those rectangles of color and memories, those are what matters the most, much more than the stuff accumulated along the way. The lives and hearts represented in those megapixels, the greatest value of our lives.
This trip is one I am still mulling over, processing the lives that we entered into for just moments or days. My eyes were opened to many truths that I've denied for so long. As we shrug off our comforts and wealth as commonplace, all the while others, many others are struggling to make ends meet. While we dismiss the idea that our childhoods were somehow perfect and charmed, there are others, many others that experience childhoods with nothing but dysfunction, abuse, and neglect. When I vehemently deny that I am pampered or privileged, others, many others live without voice or opportunity to even have their basic physical and emotional needs met.
And for me, little old me, the greatest disappointment that marked the last two weeks in my life was a missed opportunity on a great sale for a beautiful pair of sandals.
Surrounded by much, my life has become about something so little.
By giving from my much, I sacrifice so little.
Living for me, finding the means for my ends, leaves me with little concern for the lives and hearts and souls of others.
I am wrestling, still wrestling, always wrestling. Some of the fights are old, contemplations continually pondered. Many, so many are new, seeds of thought planted in the last two weeks.
Those, the new ones, I hope to share here over the next little while. So that in recording, there is a remembering, and in the remembering a refusal to get sucked once again into my own little world.