Clean and pack.  Pack and clean.  It’s all we did for the last couple of weeks before we moved the end of January.  We would have started sooner, but the flu kept us glued to the couch.  Our plan evolved into alternately staying with Brett’s dad in North Carolina and his mom in South Carolina. We would put most everything in storage and take a few necessities with us.  The ‘storage’ and ‘take with’ piles grew and multiplied seemingly under their own power.  After the storage pile went into storage, I wasn’t sure all our necessities would fit into our cars.  But, Brett managed to shove everything in and off we went to North Carolina.  The pre-planned two weeks turned into a month long stay as our plans evolved and changed from the original.

The day came to pack up and roll down the road again.  This time to see Colby in Tennessee during his spring break.  We had added to our pile of necessities during the month in North Carolina and Brett was sure it wouldn’t all fit in the cars.  He had a valid point, but I believe in the impossible and assured him it would all fit.  We packed, carried everything downstairs and put it in a big pile outside.  Next we pushed, pulled and shoved and by some miracle managed to arrange everything into the cars.  By the time we arrived to Colby’s five hours later and had to unload all kinds of stuff just so we could successfully go to bed and start our day in the morning I decided it was entirely ridiculous to have so much stuff.  A conclusion I’ve come to before, but never really seemed to be able to put into practice.  Though in self defense, we do have to take Aspens school books with us and there is the possibility we will remain homeless into the summer so we must pack for summer and winter and I can’t eat msg so I need to take my food with me and then we have our cat who Aspen would be devastated without and, well, you get the idea.

I woke up this morning determined to reduce the amount of stuff we are carrying with us on this trip.  We have slightly altered our plans deciding to take this time of joblessness to go see family across the country.  Brett and I have talked about taking a cross country road trip many times over the years, but having a job prevents actually taking the time to put theory into practice.  We had planned a great cross country trip a couple of years ago when we moved from Vegas to Maryland.  Brett mapped a drive up the coast of California, with stops to see our daughter Rande in Washington, our son Ryan in North Dakota and my sister in Colorado.  As luck would have it, life got in the way and Brett needed to leave sooner for his new job than expected and I did a much shortened version of the trip with Aspen and Colby for the first leg of our journey to Colorado where we ditched Colby and Brett rejoined us for a quick drive from Colorado to Maryland.

When I woke up wide awake far too early this morning I pondered our situation of too much stuff.  Completely disgusted with myself for having allowed myself to take so much stuff with us I began to apply it to my spiritual life.  Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruits of the Spirit; Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

As I make my spiritual journey through this world I should take the fruits of the Spirit with me.  They represent the life of Jesus living in me.  If I break my life down to the simplicity of living by these fruits of the Spirit I have everything I need and the load is not heavy nor do I  have too much stuff.  It is only when I start adding to them that life becomes complicated.

Loving with the love that Jesus gives me for others is simply that, loving them.  It is only when I decide to complicate things by loving them based on how they have treated me, or the life style that they choose to live, that the load becomes heavy.  Love is free until I add the “how much should I love them” then it is a costly heavy burden and I can only afford to give out a limited amount of love.

The pure, true, simple joy of being in the presence of God is beautiful.  It is only when I start adding to that with my  ideas of what I need to make me joyful and happy that the burden becomes heavy.  I don’t need a big screen tv or the newest iPhone to have true happiness.  When I unburden myself from my version of what makes me happy and truly desire the will of the Father to supersede my own will and simply let Jesus live joy through me then I will have true happiness.  I may not have a home, I may not have all the stuff I thought I needed, but my life will be lived with the true, pure love, joy and peace that only God can give me.