The children of Israel fled Egypt with mounds of stuff. The stuff got burned off in the desert and everyone who loved stuff went with it. Sadly, slavery was in their hearts and only death could set them free from the slave mentality. A few, Joshua, Caleb, left Egypt and only looked forward.
To quote my dad, Joshua and Caleb were “forward movers.”
So we should be, so we must be.
If we are not, then we will be left in slavery in a place that does not want us, eventually does not need us, and death will make us move in any case.
Hope and I were honored a few years ago to be called to a promised land and we started moving. We ended up with a house that was the school and college! Stuff overflowed our lodgings until 6000 Dale Carnegie came to be. The dialectical vision grew and now is educating students from four to twenty-six: preschool to college.
But we were farish and it was time to move, to be all in. Saint Anne Villa on No Hill awaits us next to the school. I will wake up and walk across the street to teach Descartes or have an open lunch with some merry chums: jollification will ensue. However, a villa is no house and so stuff must go, so much stuff that the dumpster receiving it is bigger than our first flat.
Thank God.The stuff was all jolly in its time, but that time has passed. We are giving treats to friends (Megan gets a typewriter! Micah a pew from Saint Michael!) and remembering when our adult kids were small. Yet every so often we will toss or give away something and I will pause, because giving that away means I am no longer young, svelte, or the father of children. This is true, but the truth usually demands I offload my stuff in garbage bag size amounts. This is a dumpster full of good-bye.
Yet you cannot really say good-bye to stuff. It is not personal and cannot love you. To the extent we love stuff, we see in it an image of the children, the chums, the community. We needn’t say goodbye to them! There are thousands of them and we can pray for them every day: living and dead. So I am almost merry (almost!) as I fill the dumpster, because this lightens me, makes me feel younger. People are more important than possessions or programs.
We left Egypt and are heading to a promised land with no grand pyramid projects, but friends. We will be near the chums with just enough room to invite people to join us! When I was a youngling, a musician asked Christians “do you want to go back to Egypt?”
No! Let’s be forward movers. After all, the last move is coming and that will allow no stuff to come along. Dickens had the picture right: if we love things, those things will be the chains that wrap around us. Instead, may we burn it all up in making merry when we can so that when at last we die, moving forward one more time (but not the last!), we see a heavenly party waiting for us: no stuff required.