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5.26.2011

TOO MUCH

Out running this morning I thought about the words too much and what all that means.  Right now there is too much food in my house.  Between a work staff retreat my husband is doing at our house and kids coming from out of town for the weekend, there is food everywhere.  It's too much food and all the things I don't care to put in my body.  What is too much for me might not be too much for you.  If you had to define a part of me, most who know me would say - unencumbered , natural, simple, free spirited, hater of nick knacks, a touch of realism mixed with relentlessness, not attached to things.  Two years ago my only child, a daughter, got married.  Whether she likes it or not, she has part of me in her and part of her dad (I hope she only got the good stuff and the negatives in he and I's personalities escaped her!).  She didn't want a wedding.  Instead, she wanted a destination ceremony or even just an elopement followed by a reception later (how else would people in their early 20's get gifts much needed to offset their great poverty!).  For her a wedding was just too much -  too much pomp, a non-essential - bog you down sort of stuff.  Brandon, her finance, though did want a wedding.  It was her first put-it-to-the-test real life compromise for love - she had a wedding:)  At one point in the planning she folded to the "this is too much" way of thinking, melted down and cried.  She asked if I would just take care of it for her.  I did, but only after asking over and over if she would really be ok with whatever I did.  It took the "too much" away from her and allowed her to be present and just enjoy.  Sitting at lunch this week with a friend whose daughter is getting married in a couple of weeks, she shared the cost of something for the wedding with me.  I laughed out loud and stated, "That is about what I spent on Hannah's entire wedding!"  My daughter got married outside in a park, reception in my sister's backyard, rented a tent, cake bought by my other sister for her gift, my daughter's dress cost $99 (last year's style and only one left in what happened to be her size-a 4), I made the flowers, rented a soft serve ice cream machine, misc decorating items, printed invitations made on my printer (about 100 in attendance), postage, rented tables & chairs, etc.... for yes, around $1,000.  My friend's idea of too much and mine are completely opposite.  Too much of anything feels crowded to me.  Nick knacks, hygiene potions and lotions, clothes, furniture, outdoor plant life, jewelry, making easy things hard - not just tangible belonging sort of stuff, but emotional, spiritual, physical and mental approaches to life in general.  Sometimes I think we attach that too much way of life to God.  We assume because He is God, creator of the universe and man, sustainer of life, author of salvation that He too is in that too much way of thinking.  God is the clearest example of what it is to be complex, but simple and pure and unadulterated all at the same time.  Standing some years ago outside my grandparents home, which was being auctioned off along with most of their belongings, struck me as ironic.  There were tables and tables of "stuff".  Most of it might have had value to gram and gramps at some point in their life.  Right then, the only value was what a bidder was willing to pay for something they had possessed, maybe treasured and acquired while on earth.  Too much eventually becomes nothing to us.  I thought about the scripture that says "it is better to give than to receive".  It's not that Jesus was saying getting is wrong, but that there is a freedom with not living in the land of too much.  That there is a place of less that actually brings more to our spirits and hearts and minds.  There is a unique vision that we get when we aren't looking through stuff or holding onto it with a closed hand.  The statement we say when we see something that appears either not worthy of the price or we are not willing to pay that price is, "that is too much".  Living far under what is too much is probably a great way to live - with money, food, possessions and even self.   

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