Sunday, November 15, 2009

On Stuff

At dinner last night I was having a conversation with a friend who described two photographs, one in which a standard, middle-class American family from Texas piled everything they owned into one photograph. You can imagine that the cameraman had to use a wide angle lens. In the other photograph, an Ethiopian family piled everything they owned onto a small table. This got me thinking: maybe I've got too much STUFF. If my life is in constant need of organization, then perhaps I am too much possessed by my possessions. I think this fairly often around Christmas time, when my wife asks me, "What do you want for Christmas?" I don't--I don't want. I like to receive tokens of her love, but I don't want, lack, or desire more stuff.

Just a thought as you ponder buying new wire racks to hold the things you don't use, or new Tupperware to hold the toys from last Christmas that your children don't play with, or even a new house to hold all of the different categories of STUFF that you've acquired. Maybe it's time to downsize, to get rid of it; more importantly, maybe it's time to scale back your personal rate of acquisition, to use your material resources in more meaningful ways. On that note, a closing word on the sacrifice of material goods from the late Elder Neal A. Maxwell:

"We are often overly concerned . . . with our acquiring or holding turf when, in fact, we are urged instead to let go of the things of the world. Any possessiveness for the things of this world is a wasted effort . . . Our personal possessions and out material blessings are really not ours, so what we sometimes regard as a sacrifice was given to us, anyway" (Quote Book, 257).

4 comments:

Becky said...

STUFF...I'm always trying to get rid of it. I don't want it and I don't need it. All I want are happy children. (wink, wink)

Jo Jo said...

So true! We've tried to add to what we have (say, trains) instead of buying something instead. We've gotten down to giving only three presents. It was good enough for the Savior. Something they may want, something they need, and something that will make them better.

Kimberlee, Marty, and a little Dot said...

Just wanted you to know that Marty and I both really enjoyed this one. We think about this often and often ponder how we can teach our little ones that all the "stuff" in this life is not so important. Good food for thought.

The Renaissance Man said...

Excellent topic at this time of year. I'm so thankful for the upbringing given to me by my parents that allows me to view the things of the world aside from the things pertaining to the gospel and not have to deal with the extraordinarily cumbersome baggage that would seem to come with valuing the things of the world over those of more worth to us. (I invite you to view an essay posted on my blog if you have the time.)Loving nephew,
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