Packing is a chore. It’s demanding physically and even more challenging emotionally. With a little help, one can easily get through the physical effort and difficulty. With a lot more help, one can also get through the emotional stress that permeates the entire process. I am so grateful to my dear friend and co-worker Kathy for her generous assistance and her efficient way of approaching the process!
Right now, it looks like I will have some 35 or so boxes to ship to Knoxville early next week. All things considered, I guess that’s not too much accumulation after 62 years of life and 10 years in one place! That, however, is still after having given away lots of books and other nice things and having thrown away an incredible amount of paper and other such stuff. It feels good to get rid of things. It feels especially good to give things away, particularly when one is giving away things like books to those who are really likely to use and benefit from them. Even so, it is still hard to part with things. Hence the 35 boxes that remain!
Jesus encouraged his disciples to travel light (cf. Luke 10:1-9). Detachment is surely a great virtue – and a necessary one. Still, the attractiveness of things is a powerful one. Nor is it altogether bad. After all, without books I would not be the person I am. I really just cannot imagine myself living without constantly reading and learning. As for all those other modern gadgets that have become so important a part of our wired – and wireless – world, well maybe one doesn’t need all of that stuff. Certainly multi-tasking is a highly over-rated alternative to actually paying attention to something – or to someone. Still, without my computer and my phone, without email and Facebook, my existence (while certainly livable) would undoubtedly be poorer relationally. And that is no small matter!
So, while detachment is indeed a virtue and giving things away is certainly good, it seems that living productively in this world and maintaining fulfilling human relationships will probably always require at least some things – maybe even at least 35 boxes worth!