Appreciation Without Acquisition

Maybe it’s because we are now on a “fixed income”, or broken income as my husband likes to say, that I don’t want any more stuff. Or maybe it’s because I am trying like many others to de-clutter not only my house, but also my life, my mind, my spirit.

Or maybe it’s the cumulative effect of organizing or visiting too many family estate auctions where strangers casually handle the cracked and stained plastic dish as a dimes-worth instead of the near priceless platter for Aunt Alma’s deviled eggs at Easter.

But however I got here, to this tension between getting and tossing, I must admit that I am beginning to feel full up. And fed up with the tease that buying can offer much joy past the initial google search, holiday market festival, or open house yard sign in the hill country that boasts “gorgeous inside”.

That last bit, including a four-color glossy listing of a near-new limestone house is the most recent purveyor of my weakness for moving away from this city of concrete and cars and 4 million fellow survivors.

I’ve struggled for years to find the perfect house, in the perfect neighborhood at the perfect price, and guess what? By a series of circumstances, a full journal’s worth of entries and sitting at the toes of Jesus and the ears of a friend, I’ve come to accept, truly – really – peacefully accept that this house, where we live now, is home.

It’s a small miracle. It’s a huge miracle if you ask my husband about watching me resolutely delete the, Zillow and apps from my phone.

But even after having this near spiritual experience it could have been easy to slip back into peeking at the brochures. After all, who could drive along those hill country views without some tug of dreaming? I was only saved by two handy thoughts. One: what possible good could come from looking? And two: let me practice appreciation without acquisition.

And it worked!

We ogled and awed over the landscapes and architecture and admittedly, cast a glance or two towards the boulevards and xeriscape of zoned communities and urban planning. But, we didn’t fall victims to needing to buy. And we came home to our little house on Chevy Chase where the dining room is still too small but perfect in it being ours.

Not yours.

The path to this peace of home was rugged. Ugly. Not a straight line at all, and spanned, albeit unnecessarily more than fifty years of packing and moving. But it was worth every single bit of surrender and trust and insistence that God teach me how to be at peace where we are instead of chasing where else it might be.

And now, it’s my business to protect and nurture this grace of appreciation without acquisition in my little house that we get to call home.

4 thoughts on “Appreciation Without Acquisition”

  1. Wonderful article Theresa! I think we all feel the pressure to keep up with our neighbors or family to have the latest toys or gadgets, live in the bigger house, drive next years model car. We’ve managed to slowly de-cluttered and stopped our accumulation thru the years moving to smaller homes each time which forces you to examine what you’ve got squirreled away as you decide to pack it up for a third or fourth time. I believe that you expand (with possessions) to fill the space you’re in, so you really don’t know what you have until you have to downsize or your kids are forced to hold estate sales….

  2. Oh Theresa, this is just what I needed to hear. Thank you for expressing so beautifully.

    Years ago I traveled to and from San Francisco every other month or so. My my mind and heart were in a constant, insistent and consitent tug of war. I wanted, I must, I needed, I had to, I would be happier….if only I lived in such a beautiful place. Not sure what or how it changed but I remember flying home one beautiful, big-skied and sunny afternoon and it hit me. I settled in my heart. Houston is home. Viking Drive is home. I could finally stop the struggle.

    Yet, these days I find myself in somewhat of the same predicament. I search HAR looking for that ‘perfect’ other home. More space, more space, more space! We go to open houses, go again, only to come home and say “ahhhh…..we love it right where we are”. We’ve worked hard to make our house a home and honestly, it is our home. Our comfortable, beautiful, small home. So, I’m trying to stop looking. Stop asking my husband to be on the roller-coaster with me. Just stop! I don’t need more ‘stuff’ or more space or more things. I’ve started cleaning out closets, purging excess and trying little by little to let go. When my family comes to visit we cozy in and make space. Our kids and grandchildren never seem to notice. There’s plenty of yard to run and play, a toybox and closet full of legos, train sets, blocks, art stuff and all the cars and trucks they could possibly play with. It’s sheer joy sitting on the front porch watching them play their little hearts out, or playing in the (plenty big enough) space inside. Oh, how I love the messes they make! Our house holds a lot of big, big love. That’s what makes it home. Our home.

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