on “my stuff” and courage – just braggin’ about my hubby

Posted: September 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

When I moved to JPUSA in October 2010, I had to unload a whole lot of possessions.  I am an “accumulator” by nature, constantly picking up more stuff as I go.  I long loved yard sales and auctions and clearance racks, and almost never turned down a hand-me-down.

 Though I had been downsizing intentionally and repeatedly for years, I still had a lot that needed to be left behind as I moved into a sharing-a-single-room-with-a-roommate situation.  I made multiple trips to goodwill.  I plunked huge piles of stuff on the curb for garbage pickup.  I passed carloads and truckloads of items on to various loved ones.  Still, in the end I moved an entire pickup truck load and an entire carload of stuff with me, when I went.

 My “stuff” was a bit of an issue when I got there.  My roommate wouldn’t consent to me hanging Lulu, my uber-bike, up in our room.  I suffered a lot of angst on that front for a few weeks until a solution presented itself.  I had to cram and push and shove my stuff in tightly, in order to leave space for the stuff of my roommate, who was also new.  My plants were a point of tension, until I gave up and moved them to my office.  I got very stressed and irritable with my roommate when she didn’t treat my djembe drum as the treasure that it was to me, but I chose to go along without protest when she declared that a bunch of my wall art would be better suited to the hall outside of our room, so that it wouldn’t clash with her color-coordinated art adorning every wall.  I got all bossy regarding our wall maps – hers was folded and worn, while mine was in new condition.  We would use mine. 

 You who have lived in college dorms perhaps know the routine.  Fitting my stuff in with your stuff can be a real struggle, even if everyone is resolved to play nicely.  I think my roommate and I did an overall fairly decent job of negotiating it, despite the discomfort involved for all. 

 I hadn’t realized how much of a security blanket my stuff was, until I went to getting rid of it.  I gave the large majority of it to my kids and almost-kids, and that was really the only way I could bear to part with some of it.  Like: my dining room table.  It was the first nice table I had ever owned.  If my daughter hadn’t taken it off my hands, I don’t know how I would have dealt with the emotion of giving it to a stranger.  I discovered I was really attached to some of the stuff to a disturbing degree.  I also discovered that having my stuff around me was a huge comfort, when all of life was new and different. 

 When I moved back out of JPUSA nine months later, though I had been giving stuff away like crazy, I still had enough stuff to fill an entire pickup truck to maximum capacity (including stuffing items behind the seat and holding things in my lap) – and yes, again, the familiarity of those things was a comfort to me as I adjusted again to an entirely different life and especially the “being alone” part of it.

 I think of that often these days, because of my husband Gary.  He moved here from Chicago (JPUSA, specifically) to marry me, after having lived there for 8 years.  He has told me that when he moved in, he did so with a suitcase and some small amount (I think it was less than $50) in his pocket.  When I drove to Chicago to move him here, I took my boss’s supercab pickup truck.  Everything he owned fit in the back seat of the truck, with room to spare.  The only thing we had to put in the bed was his chopper bike.  It took us maybe 10 minutes to toss it all in and be ready to drive away.

 I’m not very materialistic as compared to a whole lot of people I know.  But compared to Gary…dude.  I am a freakin’ high maintenance princess, you know? 

 I’m so amazed at the serenity with which he navigates the “everything is new” life that he stepped into when he came to me.  He had only visited here something like 3 times – just weekends! – before he made the jump.  It’s not like he was coming to anything familiar at all.  Just a few of my people who immediately loved and embraced him.  Not to mention, he left the mission field, a paycheck-less life, to return to the world of time clocks and bills.  That is a big thing, at 46 years old.  Daunting, you know?  I am married to such a brave man.

 I watch his easiness in all things.  He doesn’t cling to my side, needing introductions when we go new places.  He just grins and talks and makes himself at home.  We went to a prayer meeting at my parents’ church and he was the first one to raise his hand to take the mic and pray for a request that had been put forth.  We go to church and I can walk away to talk to girlfriends, and he just strikes up conversations all over the room, including offering encouragement to our pastor.  We go to family stuff and he is jumping up to help at the very first hint of a breath of the need.  We go to Bible study and he doesn’t sit quietly by – he contributes to the conversation, every time.  We go out for a meal at a hibachi place, and he takes the time to ask our server’s name and then thank him BY NAME at the end of the night. 

 I wouldn’t be so easy, so brave in his shoes.  I would need more hand-holding.  I would take more time to warm up.  I would be quiet for a very, very long time in most settings.  He teaches me, just by being himself, pretty much every day. 

 I would love to be so courageous. 

  1. Me says:

    But didn’t God say that He would send THE PERFECT mate! ?

    Sent from my Motorola Smartphone on the Now Network from Sprint!

  2. Linda says:

    Me too my friend….God has truly blessed you with exactly the man you needed to complete you. Love you girl

  3. Pam Spangler says:

    I’m so glad God blessed you with Gary!

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