“I Would Trust This Seller With My Life”

Posted on November 8, 2011


By John

We have been purging lately. Not the wimpy spring cleaning that we are used to. Purging. Every week a pile of stuff appears in front of our bookshelves. Stuff that has to go away and never come back: furniture, books, household items that we can no longer keep, sports equipment, and even some long held treasures of our lives. Some times it is easy to let them go. Some times it is hard. Often there is frustration as we hope that our possessions still have enough value that we can sell them and are disappointed to find that isn’t the case. Craigslist and Amazon are familiar tools to us now.

Being book lovers, we merged two large libraries when we married. We collected more along the way, as well, so that three years into marriage we had amassed quite a collection, even after disposing of many duplicates.  Now, we have decimated our collection. By rough estimate, over a hundred and fifty books have passed out of our house in the past month. Most are sent to the local thrift store, while some have brought us success on Amazon,  selling them to add bit by bit to our outgoing fund.

One reviewer on our amazon account actually wrote “I would trust this seller with my life.” It is quite flattering considering I have never met the person. I think though the reality is actually the reverse. We are entrusting our lives to them. Selling our memories and history piece by piece in a bid to go. It feels risky and uncertain. What if we do not make it? What if we sell all our stuff and still don’t have enough to go? (Our stuff is not worth that much, so selling it is really only a few small drips in the bucket!) We are only occasionally plagued by visions of sitting in an empty apartment at the end of January and having to stay here. So piece by piece we entrust others with our lives.

As our stuff dwindles, the reality of our departure grows. Like a sun dawning on the horizon of our minds, our departure steadily moves into view beginning to draw our focus away from all the little things of our life here.  An anticipation grows in my gut: like Christmas morning and going to the principal’s office rolled into one confused knot.

Life is simpler with less stuff. The stuff you thought you needed, you didn’t really need it. In fact, you hardly notice it is gone. I threw away notes from a favorite college class recently. Clarissa asked if I would regret it later. I told her I didn’t think so, as I probably would not remember them in a week. Nearly every week we take a trunkload to the local thrift store, yet even now I don’t remember what we got rid of. We still have all we need for daily life. Life is getting more peaceful, as if the unknown weight of my own belongings is being lifted from me. It is like I have been mentally walking about with my back laden down with the snowboard that actually resides under my bed.

This is only the beginning. A beginning you are helping to make. A shedding of the weight to make us mobile. So that we can go. We are being drawn through a narrow opening. No matter how much I think I may need the cross country skis, they just will not fit through the door (not to mention that there is no chance of us using them in Kenya). I don’t like it, and I feel my heart squirm under it, like the rich young ruler who loved his stuff more than Jesus. Thankfully Jesus does not let me go. He peels off my encumbrances layer by layer. Books that a month ago I could not part with are listed on Amazon, priced to sell. And there is a new found simplicity and freedom that comes with the empty shelves.

Thank you for your prayers, thank you for helping us to go.