There's something sobering about cramming one's personal belongings into a storage unit and paying for it to sit there. As Jamie wedged my wooden rocking chair between bookcases and bunk beds, I felt like a pioneer wife advising her husband on how to maximize space in the covered wagon. But as we brought down the metal door and clasped the padlock, I reminded myself that it's all just . . . stuff. To be perfectly honest, if I never saw any of it again nothing terrible would happen. Sure, I would miss my grandmother's china and other sentimental items. Dozens of books are calling to me and I plan to rescue them at the first opportunity. But everything we need is outside the cold metal door. Everything I need is with me.
We're entering our third month as pilgrims. During that time, I've been forced to focus on simplicity. I don't have my sewing table, I don't have my craft corner. I don't have the impulse to paint the walls because they're not my walls. I don't feel the need to add more furniture or dishes to my collection because we'd just have to cram it into storage anyway. I don't have a reason to pester my husband about laying hens or a row of birch trees for the back yard. And that's okay.
Because when I strip away the extras, I'm left with living. It's almost like camping. I cook. I do the laundry. I clean. I do the laundry. I teach the children. I do the laundry. I read to my children the books that have sat on our bookshelves for years. And, of course, I do the laundry.
But as I live, I find that I have more time to listen. I listen to my children. I listen to my husband. I listen to my parents (bless them and their open home!). And more importantly, I'm learning to listen to the Lord. My steps are baby steps, to be sure. I still stamp my feet and throw tantrums. But when I calm my spirit, I can hear.
I can hear the words that He speaks to my heart as I slowly attempt to commit small portions of Scripture to memory with my children. Again, baby steps, but I'm learning. We let words like "Dear friends, let us love one another" become part of our minds. And the simplicity of living reveals the truth about what's really important.
I know that someday I'll get to paint a wall again, and perhaps someday I'll even gather eggs from my very own hens and sit under the shade of my own birch trees. But for now, I want my heart to feel at peace with quiet simplicity. I'm not distracted by paint chips and dish patterns. For even when it's all stripped away, I know that I still have everything I need. So as I pile my children onto my lap for another chapter of Five Little Peppers, I'll quietly give thanks for one more opportunity to experience peace and contentment in the sufficiency of my heavenly Father.