There is a conflict that rages within especially this time of year. The problem is things, their purpose, their value, their presence in my life.
We live simply. We really do. We are not acquisitive on the grand scale. We can drive by yard sales. In fact, this very day the library book sale in the neighboring town - always on a grand scale - is being ignored.
There is little in our home that is of great value on the open market. Yet there are many items that are treasured - family pieces with history, gifts added through the years, memories of travels and such.
An effort is made to apply Mr. Morris' directive to have only those things which are thought beautiful or are useful. And even the Shaker sensibility appeals to me. But this becomes complicated because there is also a cheery Dorcas "this is my one weakness" reality in my soul.
The problem develops from this: each November the members of our church fellowship are given little booklets, "Thankfulness in November". These simply offer something in our lives - one for each day of the month - for which we are to be thankful. It is a calling to attention, really, of the common place things that make up our lives. It is giving opportunity to notice and give thanks. This thanksgiving is in the form of designated coin value to be offered. This offering then, becomes collectively, a seasonal gift for the missionaries our church supports.
Day 1: "How many dinner plates do you have? One cent for each." Right off, you see, the compiler is getting nosy. China is my "one weakness". Besides, with a growing family unit, additional plates are always needed when the clan gathers. And you should have different patterns, or at least colors for the different seasons and occasions. Shouldn't you?
Day 2: "Thank the bank for each of your siblings. 5 cents for each". Well of course. This is well and good. And the following page 5 cents for each grandchild? Easy. These are treasures indeed. I shall even be generous and contributed for each grand-in-law . In these we are truly blessed. Oh, and the Great-grands too? Most certainly.
We are reminded that trips during the year are blessings as are, shoes, vehicles, even clocks, Bibles and phone calls. Lovely.
There is one day coming to 'give thanks' for the number of books owned, ("my one weakness"), another for DVDs, (O dear). Yet another for photos and/or art on the walls. (Oh my, all weaknesses). This year it is obvious: I'm so blessed in life's abundant riches that I need a job in order to pay up!
I gladly give. I do appreciate my many 'treasures'.
I only hope next year the compiler doesn't add things outside, like the number of old bricks that edge the garden plots. Or rose bushes!
*William Morris, 19th century artist, leader of the English Arts and Crafts movement
*Dorcas Lane, heroine of Lark Rise to Candleford