I’ve been trying to downsize for years. For the past year I have been going through books and papers that I haven’t seen in decades!  Experts advise throwing out those things without looking carefully at them, saying that if I haven’t needed them by now, I can live without them!

Certainly I have disposed of college papers and tests, giving them only a quick glance. But reading reflections I wrote during the Women’s Movement and when I was immersed in workshops on white racism, have helped me in reviewing my life and inspired me to share some of my inner experiences with a wider audience.

I am challenged by the man who wanted to build bigger barns in Luke 12:13-21.  It’s easy to keep one’s distance from this parable because very few of us depend on crops for our livelihood, and perhaps there are some reading this who have never seen a barn!

Comedian Steven Wright quipped: “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?” and George Carlin observed that the “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.”

We have garages that are too full of stuff to have room for our cars, storage lockers we pay rent for to keep more stuff, and cloud backups of all sorts of technical stuff.

The “stuff” I want to preserve is my writing and the books that have inspired me. When I lose some part of that I feel like I have lost part of my life. That is where I feel vulnerable, but isn’t that the same as the farmer and his barn – preserving the tools and results of his work and the tools and results of mine?

What “stuff” do you have where the idea of losing it makes you feel threatened?
— Nancy R. Smith (c) August 2, 2013

About Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College.
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