Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Wanting Nothing

When we began our year long challenge to buy nothing new as a family last Easter, I suppose it was largely about environmental concerns, as well as an ever expanding discomfort with excessive (and non-excessive!) waste.  I was intrigued by the idea that we could live simpler, less hurtful lives than we were. We had some slips up along the way. A new rug to cover the hole the puppy chewed in the carpet, anyone? Yes, please. A couple items for camping. Some football gear for the non-tackler. (Although, we were able to find a used helmet for the maybe-track-is-my-sport boy!) But by and large we have maintained our end of the bargain we made, (with ourselves) making ourselves very happy indeed!

It's humbling to realize God graced us with an extraordinarily radiant, magestic, provision rich earth when He gave us our home, yes? How breathtaking when we take a moment to look up, look around, and consider the magnitude of what we've been bestowed - to do with whatever we will.

Our lives had already simplified greatly through the years. The vast Colorado prairie on which we have experienced our day to day for the last 8 plus years has proven a wise and thorough task master. We are truly changed by our country lifestyle. It has taught us immeasurable lessons about awe and respect as it forced us to carefully consider our every engagement, due to lack of convenience. It has taught us about independence and modesty and freedom from the desire to keep up and the under appreciated value of time. We savor the opportunity to see the sun rise, to watch it set. We grow food and collect eggs and run in wide open spaces and say thank you. Thank you, thank you.

So, I expected a certain, marked satisfaction to result from lessening our impact on what I've come to more keenly appreciate - our beautiful planet. I also knew it would serve as a unique, priceless lesson for our kids.

What I did not anticipate was the impact the challenge would have on me. Personally. Alone.

As we started out, practically giddy with the chance to still scour thrift stores for treasures because that was so clearly NOT against the rules, (Green shopping as its finest! One man's trash, another woman's treasure! I'll carry my stash, no plastic bags, thankyouverymuch!) I frequented Goodwill, Arc, and Salvation Army regularly. This led me to find all manner of old-fashioned goodies as I rewarded my deep seated, I-am-a-product-of-my-consumeristic-culture urge to purchase. It may be used, but that doesn't keep it from being thrillingly new to me.  Shop. Find. Buy. Save the earth.  Could there be a more endorphin inducing experience? I should say not! At that time, we were embarking on summer. Days that spread out before us, long and warm and free to fill with activities of our choosing. My (amazing!) mother took possession of some or all of my flock on a regular basis. Thus, occasions to shop weren't hard to find. With 9 of us, I could always justify someone needing something.

Then, August rolled around. My (amazing!) flock tending mother went back to work. School began. The hours filled with lessons and books and goals and chores and learning (yipee!) and bad attitudes and my students crying I don't understand hoooow to doooooo thiiiiiissssss and mid morning dance breaks and commuting to school programs and football. Did I mention football?  Suddenly, my every day was consumed with responsibility. There was no time to shop. My thrill was gone.

There were seven consecutive weeks were I bought nothing. Except groceries. Food only. No thrifting, no hunt, no find, no thrill, no I'll-carry-my-stash-without-a-plastic-bag. No shopping. It became a purchasing fast. It wasn't exactly intentional, time just marched on.

What I discovered during that time was the excitement of bringing a little something different than what I already have home, was as much a habit as anything else. Used, new, it doesn't matter. The feeling I got from buying is the same.

To my delight, I didn't really miss it. At all. I relished the personal liberty I felt. I embraced what I already knew - that I truly had all I need. I used what I owned. Felt grateful for enough already.

Wanting nothing. Having everything. I broke free. A most blessed byproduct.

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