Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oh, The Things That Distracted Me...

"Eyes blinded by the fog of Things cannot see Truth.
Ears deafened by the din of Things cannot hear Truth.
Brains bewildered by the whirl of Things cannot think Truth.
Hearts deadened by the weight of Things cannot feel Truth.
Throats choked by the dust of Things cannot speak Truth."

-Harold Bell Wright, The Uncrowned King, 1910

This passage sits, written in my hand, in the front of my Bible. It serves as a reminder to me of my lifelong battle with Things. Material Things.

My parents were self-made... people who worked hard together in a traditional marriage to build something from nothing. They were a team, both with equally important roles. It delighted them both to see my sister and me lavished with the extras that they never had growing up. They wanted our lives to be easier than theirs had been.

Their goal was altruistic and also very common for the parents of my peers growing up in suburbia. It was my handling of the situation that caused my problems. Nothing was ever enough for me. I became a 'consumer' of 'Things' in the truest sense of the word. The most fashionable clothing, the expensive car, the latest designer handbag, the expected college and post-graduate education... would anything finally satisfy me? My parents must have been shocked, I am confident that this was not what they intended to create.

In my twenties, my life hit an all-time low. The 'Things' had failed to satisfy and I was a depressed, sad person. I'm only grateful that the epiphany came then, instead of decades later. Through a series of circumstances, I learned how to get by with very little. I still had my parents to fall back on; however, I learned how to shop wisely and, most importantly, to desire less.

Then I met my husband. He was not raised with excess, in fact, the exact opposite. His college was not a 'right' but a privilege garnered from hard work on the athletic field. He was so grateful for his degree from an excellent school. He was and is acutely aware that he would not have had such an opportunity, but for a God-given physical gift. And, once that gift served the intended purpose, my husband closed the door on it and left it behind without any regrets. He is not a man who spends entire weekends watching sports; nor does he live out his unfulfilled dreams through his son's athletic pursuits. In fact, he rarely even watches his alma mater play and would be tickled if our sons become musicians.

So, he rubbed off on me in the area of Things. He was also a person of deep faith back then. Not a perfect man; but a man whose faith in God never wavered. He rubbed off on me in that area, too. He encouraged me to ask question upon question until my perceived intellectual barriers to faith were finally answered.

We have walked together as God has peeled the desire for material things away from me. We learned to live without my salary, we chose a simpler existence in the country, we try very hard not to be impulsive with large purchases. We fail in this area regularly, but materialism does not have a hold on me any longer. There is not a thing that anyone around me owns that I seek, not a thing.

By any standard, we have a great home and nice land. Take the house and leave the land, I'd be just fine. We could live in a trailer on this land and be very, very happy. For that matter, we could live in a trailer anywhere and be happy. We've often talked about picking up and taking a year with our kiddos to see the country in an RV. It sounds like the trip of a lifetime to me. It is doubtful that CPS would approve such an adventure, so that dream will have to wait.

In conclusion, for me, materialism had a grip so tight that I couldn't see, hear, think, feel or speak Truth. Somewhere deep within me was a thirst for that elusive quenched-soul. Finally, I am able to drink from the fountain of Truth, and I am satisfied.

2 comments:

christy said...

Laura,
What an awesome post! We too are moving farther away from the want of things. I love the quote at the top of your post. There are so many things that cloud our experience with the Truth... I would much rather experience that truth that you are talking about than have material things...any day!

Marcella said...

Laura,

My husband's grandfather was Harold Bel Wright and we have two web pages dedicated to his writings:

http://longagotold.blogspot.com/

and

http://hbw-life-in-pix.blogspot.com/

I'd love to "exchange" links with you.

Marcie Wright