The Road Less Cluttered

I started out brave and optimistic, not like a girl who didn't know any better, but like a girl who did. Like a girl who would choose adventure over predictability, rich relationships over the illusion of control. And I meant it when I said it didn't matter where we lived, as long as we were together.

But June came sounding like a four-letter-word, and suddenly all this talk of moving is not just talk. And in what was clearly a raw deal, I traded my peace for worry, my contentment for covetousness. And the crazy thing? I am coveting my own house. I can't even saute an onion without comparing my beloved gas stove to the elderly electric one that awaits me in our rental. I find myself envious of the tenant whose kids will soon perch at my precious kitchen island, tackling homework while dinner gets underway.

We took leftovers up to Larry last night while he was on call, and I thought, I won't be able to do this anymore. We'll live too far away from his work. And it was like my heart and gut grabbed hands and tried to run away without me. Pounding, tightening, and twisting. I wondered if this was how a panic attack felt. I wondered when it was I started listening exclusively to Fear.

This geographic move, this career move, it moves our story forward. It is absolutely the right thing for us. I have even begun to feel myself (if only slightly) beginning to morph into the character I so want to be. But in terms of the actual house we will live in, it feels like a step back, to longer commutes and less countertop space, to smaller closets and older architecture.

I hate to be so honest about being so shallow, to admit how easily I'm caught in lies about what will make me happy. An easy commute, a spacious modern home, a place to hoard without consequence. These things make me comfortable, yes. Happy, no.

Mary Oliver said, "I have a notion that if you are going to be spiritually curious, you better not get cluttered up with too many material things."

And Mary, it is so much more than a notion. It's too bad I couldn't have been there when Jesus compared the rich man's odds at heaven to a camel traveling through a needle's eye. Maybe it would have been clearer when he looked straight into my eyes, that He was talking to me.

Would it be okay if I quote Mary again? Because I feel so much better when I stop thinking about where I will put the Kitchen Aid in the new place, when I start thinking about the pursuit of a beautiful, de-cluttered story, of stepping off the beaten path toward temporary prosperity to chase after eternal amazement.

Take it away, my dear Mary Oliver:

When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

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