downsize

On our daily walk, Nancy and I were talking about downsizing.

A friend had told me about selling a house to gain flexibility for the future. Nancy and I started talking about what downsizing might look like. (Apart from the kind that comes from our daily walking.) We discussed getting rid of stuff, about learning how to share equipment instead of always buying our own. For the past couple years, downsizing has been about minimizing our stuff.

As I was driving to work, I thought about starting with my desk drawers, eliminating some of the small objects that carry ponderous stories. Downsizing for me isn’t just about stuff, it’s about unnecessary reminders. But I had a couple of meetings, planned and unplanned, and forgot about the idea.

At lunch, another friend talked about downsizing. I said, “What does that look like?” She said, “Schedules.” As a couple, they are simplifying their calendars to create space for their neighbors, for pickup games of basketball in the street, for conversations on the porch.

In a conversation that evening, some friends and I looked at a letter from James. He was talking to rich people and said, “Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.” I thought about the tools I have in the garage that are covered with dust, unused for years. I thought about the electronics corroded from leaking batteries. And realized that rich is a relative term, measured perhaps by amount wasted as much as amount possessed.

In class the next day we talked about Mark Buchanan‘s golden rule of Sabbath: “Cease from what is necessary. Embrace that which gives life.” It seems to be about reducing the number of voices we give credence to and pursuing the voice that matters.

Either I need to change friends or listen to them.

 

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

3 thoughts on “downsize

  1. The downsizing concept is one my wife and I began in 2013 with the idea of moving to a smaller home. In 2014 when we actually moved, we gave away 1/2 our stuff. A year later we look back and see that the physical process of downsizing also freed up some of our time that was spent taking care of stuff we didn’t use or care about. That time has been used to serve others and in some many other ways too.

    When we were giving stuff away, we were able to help neighbors who needed some of the stuff we were not using, so it became a blessing to them and a blessing to us to help.

    Keep writing and inspiring us Jon!

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  2. Downsizing ,before this read, had only meant a smaller home which was easier for manuvering.
    I am challenged anew by the other facets which your friends and you are considering and experiencing.
    Getting rid of stuff,mainly to the Rescue Mission in town, has been my focus in recent years.
    Thanks for broadening my thinking.

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