There are understood implications.
When you sell/get rid of most of your things before moving out of the country...
The implications may surprise you.
By March of 2012 Geoff and I had done a total sort of our earthly possessions. Items worth the time to sell were liquified through Craigslist and garage sales, useful smaller items such as clothing and kitchen items were donated, selected heirloom/keepsakes were carefully stored, and our fairly respectable tool collection was divided between our dads.
We didn't plan to move back to the States for a while hoping our journey to Ecuador would be a longer one. However, as it got down to the nitty-gritty we felt the caution to preserve at least a few basic living items for if/when we did return. We could always get rid of them another time. A year-and-a-half later we're thankful to have a few such items around.
Our goal in purging assets wasn't so much a vow of poverty as it was the dream of simplicity.
Gifts and keepsakes were the hardest. It seemed reasonable that things with sentimental connection should be preserved. The things my heart was attached to for one reason or another. But wasn't that what materialism was all about? We wrestled with that a lot in the purging process, even still.
One great benefit of the spring purge - fastest unpacking ever on our return. We are feeling the highs and lows of simplicity and sacrifice much stronger on this end of the experience. Several times I've wondered where This or That could be. On the other hand I feel more organized than in a long time without the piles of Stuff that, although useful at times, are ultimately unnecessary.
The freedom of simplicity is proving far more valuable than the burden of luxury.
Though we still instinctively look for a few items each day that will not be found we are ultimately thankful for the Great Purge. In fact, one of the first things we did when we unpacked our remaining clothes last week was sort through and thin them out yet again. Our wardrobes are not extensive by most any American standards, but we still have so much more than we need. This applies to most every area of our life - STILL. Excess is a sneaky devourer.
Our goal for the next two months while living in this temporary place and time of transition is to further streamline our possessions.
We'll keep the rocking chair my maternal grandparents gave me money to pick out when I graduated from high school. They wanted me to have a good-quality piece of furniture that would last for years to come.
We'll keep the trunk my great-grandfather used when serving as a congressman and the beautiful redwood slab table and clock paternal grandfather built for us.
We'll keep the incredible cookware (that I likely missed more than anything) from Geoff's family, and the stunningly intricate, award-worthy, quilt his grandmother made for us.
Such pieces are worth keeping with us whenever possible. They help remind us who we are, where we come from, and what a gift it is to be loved. Thinning out the other clutter allows them to be more cherished as well. Yet in the midst of clinging to even the most priceless, sentimental of possessions we are learning to guard ourselves against the greatest challenge of materialism. That of replacing the Good with the Thing.
More than anything the Great Purge and the struggle with overcoming materialism reminds me of how often I am tempted to honor the representation, or idol, instead of GOD. Even the greatest gifts HE gives, say, the Bible or family, are not worthy of worship. Only HE.
So thankful for the times of cleansing, purging, and refinement. Though at times painful, inconvenient, and challenging, I am thankful for the opportunities to remind myself of where Value and Treasure are truly found.
Only in Him.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."