I am by no means the poster-child for simplicity. I like new shoes and expensive shampoo and keeping plastic baggies full of necessities in my car for that just in case moment. If anything I would be a better representative for the Boy Scouts of America. Their motto: Always be prepared.
Is there such a thing?
I tend to believe in the law of “extra.” I like to have “extra” in my cupboard just in case I need something. Inside my purse alone I am prepared for a medical or natural disaster with “extra” band-aids, Advil, floss, a pocket knife and chapstick. I tend to anticipate what I might need and then make sure I have it. (and probably extra of it, too). Now, there is nothing wrong with being prepared, except when you (like me) may plan, prepare and purchase in order to be too prepared.
Yes, I think there is a something to be said about being too prepared. If I am honest, my effort to be prepared often stems from my lack of trust that someone or something else may actually provide for me. I think the temptation to hoard and buy more than we need is often a result of fear. What happens if I don’t have_____? or What will I do if I run out of ______? Sometimes I wonder if having one more or buying a little extra leads to a false sense of security. How often does being “prepared” correlate to feeling like somehow we’re in control?
Over the past 6 months many things in my life have started to change, and not because I made some valiant effort to reshape my spending or my lifestyle. No, more so because we are creatures who learn to adapt. And I am learning how to adapt to this new place; a place that is not defined as much by preparing and planning for tomorrow, but rather is more focused on today.
It’s helped me re-think about what it means to live for today? Things take longer here. I buy bread at the local bakery for one day or maybe two. I buy eggs when I need them from la tienda on the corner. And it changes the way you shop at the grocery store when you have to carry home whatever you buy. The obvious result: I buy less. Running errands has a new meaning when you don’t have a car to aid you in the speed and efficiency that correlates with the word “running.” So, I walk for my errands. Somehow the phrase “walking errands” does not exactly have the same ring. This is not to say walking is better than driving. In fact sometimes I really wish I had a car, but I don’t. And the truth is it has been good for me. It’s been a way to slow down, do less and it has made me realize what life is like for the 91% of people in our world who don’t own a car. (for a much more inspiring description of living car free, check out my friend Kelly’s recent post)
He Said What?
When Jesus tells his disciples, Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, I think he actually means it.
do. not. worry. about. tomorrow.
Maybe implied in that is also, “Do not hoard. Do not over prepare. Do not buy one more just in case. Do not believe the falsehood that says you can be in control.” Maybe Jesus’ words are a reminder to his disciples (and to us) that there is something beautiful, albeit difficult about saying, ok. I’m going to trust you to provide. I’m going to live with less, so I can experience more.