Sunday, 18 August 2013

A salty kind of day

Wikipedia says "Salt is essential for animal life, but can be harmful to animals and plants in excess. Salt is one of the oldest, most ubiquitous food seasonings and salting is an important method of food preservation . The taste of salt (saltiness) is one of the basic human tastes.

Last night I was watching Grand Design on ABC and the couple built their home in a 1550's shed, it was massive, an overwhelming project but the result was nothing short of spectacular.  The lady with multi-coloured hair whose name was Freddie said "I just want a different experience from life".  She didn't want to live in a house with separate rooms and cosy carpet, their home became a creative masterpiece and their daughter could roller-skate everywhere and they had a wild meadow that grew up to their back door! 

It made me think of how much we do in life just because everybody else does it, how early in life do we stop asking why, how young are we when we stop thinking there might be a different way?  Often I see quotes that say "Life is too short to be ordinary" or "Refuse to be average.  Let your heart soar as high as it will".  The Bible says "You are the salt of the earth.  But if salt loses its saltiness...It is no longer good for anything...You are the light of the world...let your light shine before others" (Matthew 5:13-16).  Salt adds flavour and light gives life.  How much salt and light can your life have if you are average, if you are doing exactly the same as everybody else? When I hear quotes like these my heart goes a flutter, I get all excited, but the truth is I don't actually have any idea how to push boundaries, how to be anything but average and ordinary.  My parents, my schooling, my extended family and friends did a great job of making me pretty normal.  I have never had any real life experience with people who question the norms and live an alternative lifestyle, I have no real concept of doing anything other than what everybody else is doing, what I have learnt to accept as normal.

I get glimpses of a different way to be, but I am way too comfortable with my existing life to really challenge my way of thinking or change anything, but as I gain a deeper understand of the Gospel I get a strong feeling there are alternatives.  I do not want to be weird, I want to fit in, but at the same time I do want a different experience from life, I definitely want our daughters to have a different experience from life.   How can our heart soar with so many long held and deep seeded beliefs securing it tightly to this earthly world.

Jesus said "I've come to change everything, turn everything rightside up - how I long for it to be finished" Luke 12:49-50.  I think we are still a long way from understanding and comprehending the wonderful life that is available to us.  Oh but how to unlock the answers, how to discover the best way to enjoy earth for the short time we are here, without going crazy questioning everything just for the sake of it.

So my philosophy for the moment is "Don't think about it, just heart it", that is a Justine Miller original quote right there.  I have all the answers inside me already, placed gently on my heart from the moment I was created.  It is my head, silly logic, my fear and worry, my previous experiences and hurts and learnt knowledge that keep the answers hidden from me.  I want to release myself from unnecessary conventional thinking and unloving social norms and discover what it truly means to live in the spirit, I want my life to have the perfect amount of salt.

What are your  thoughts on salt, and life?

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The possession obsession

Is a lot of your time taken up looking after all your things?  Tasks like washing, drying, folding and packing away, picking up, washing up, cleaning, maintaining, painting, mowing, detailing and working longer hours to earn  enough money to pay for all these things and buy some more.  Is your pantry full of food and you still don't know what to have for dinner?  Does any of this really bring you great joy?   I almost feel smothered, physically, emotionally and spiritually, by the stuff, the responsibility, the financial burden of all that surrounds me.

I think I am trapped in a possession obsession, which helps makes some people very rich but just keeps most of the world enslaved, destroying our souls, distracting us from what is truly important.

I look at our gorgeous girls, filled with so much love and fun, learning new and amazing things every single day and I do not want them to go to school, get a good education and earn money just so they can spend their entire lifetime wanting and needing more stuff.  Surely there is more, this can not be our purpose.  I do not want to be a rich fool and I do not want to raise our children to be rich fools.

I do love nice things, I agree with the mantra 'Life is short, live beautifully'.  There are spectacularly beautiful things everywhere, it is truly special to be able to own some of these beautiful items, but we don't need to own all of them!  I entered the workforce in 1999 and nearly every cent I have earned in that time has been spent on me, on creating and maintaining a lifestyle that I enjoy, buying clothes, shoes, going to the hairdresser, purchasing magazines and books, travelling around Australia, buying gifts, a car and a family home etc.  None of these things are bad, I have not lived excessively but I have lived greedily and selfishly and I still do.  In this time I could have put a lot more of this money to greater use, I could have sponsored more children, invested more heavily in projects that genuinely improve the life of others, respected each dollar for what it was, a gift and a blessing to be used to bless the lives of others.  I have not used this money wisely.

I still don't have the urge to get rid of all my things, I am not courageous or committed enough to sell all my possessions and give the money to the poor and then live a very meagre existence.  However, I am going to consciously work on my attitude and approach to the purchases I do make.  As a family we will look at all our things and donate what we don't really need and then be much more stringent about the items that do enter our house, and be much more purposeful when we buy gifts for others. 

I will always love beautiful things, these are precious gifts for us to enjoy and appreciate, but I do not want this short, beautiful and amazing time I have on earth to be focussed or obsessed with owning, maintaining, looking after and admiring possessions.  After all, the day I die it all ceases to mean anything at all, my family will probably look at it all and drop it off at the closest op shop.  I don't want my life's worth to be put in some cardboard boxes and dropped out the front of Vinnies.  Do you think you might be trapped in a possession obsession too?