An alarm bell rang while reading “Passport to The Land of Enough” by Dave Eastman and Joel Nagel. Did you know the self-storage business in the U.S. made $32.7 billion last year? One chapter posed, “How much stress is stuff bringing into my life?” I would say, “None.” But when my adult daughter said, “If anything ever happened to you, I don’t know what I’m going to do with all this,” then my stress level rose. It’s time to let go of stuff.
Fine china is my weakness, with seven sets and all the hoopla. When it comes to setting a holiday table, I can compete with The Breakers historic mansion in Newport.
“What?!” I said, “You don’t want to use all this?”
Shock. My daughter doesn’t share my passion for “tablescapes.” It’s just a truckload of dishes to offload someday. When it comes to cutting them loose, will it be her machete or mine?
To maintain, preserve, hold on and keep, I hung my hopes onto my 12-year-old grandaughter. “I’ll save it for Bella.”
But my husband said, “When will she ever have space to store all that?”
Dorm rooms and future studio apartments nix the fancy dinners for 12.
I felt a pang, the undeniable attachment to stuff.
“Passport to the Land of Enough” is about a missionary mindset with a 30-day challenge to feel how most of the world lives all the time. Try eating on a few dollars a day, or having your entire family sleep together in one room. For one day, experience no spending or not using electricity. For a month, grow awareness and gratitude that such experiences are optional for most of us.
I can’t turn on my TV or use my laptop? Lunch alone costs more than $5. If we have to sleep in one room, someone’s going to be on the floor, and it won’t be me.
It’s harder than you think.
For compassion in action, create a “giveaway” bag of snacks and comforts, ready to store in your car, to give to a homeless person. Or pay for something for the person behind you in line.
A reality check is always healthy. To me fine china elevates dining and beautiful plates have starred at the family table. Is that so bad? No. But do I need seven sets? No. Frankly, my family will recall memories of love, not the china patterns.
I took a deep breath and texted a fellow fine china lover and offered her a gift. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. One down, six to go. Just let me gasp and hold my heart for a while. Learning to live with less is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I live in The Land of Plenty. My challenge is to love The Land of Enough.
-- Email Suzette Standring: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.readsuzette.com. The award-winning author writes for The Patriot Ledger and is syndicated through GateHouse Media.