On being a stuff-haver

It is rare for me to live in the same dwelling longer than one or two years at a time.  Tomorrow will be the fifth time I’ve moved since April of 2008.  I am not fond of moving, and so these past several days have been a small misery.  Now, at the eleventh hour, there is yet work to be done.  Sunday I’m scheduled to speak in Gainesville, so had better be out of Fort Myers by then!

My distaste for moving is not an aversion to travel, nor is it a reluctance to say goodbye.  Goodbyes are a promise for meetings again; their sorrow is bright.  What dismays me about moving is all the stuff.

A good friend in Korea used to speak of possessions and attachments as “stuff-having;” at the time in his life when I knew him well he was a very adept “non-stuff-haver.”  I still admire this ability to be detached from things; it amazes me how many mere objects encumber my life.  Bits of paper.  Clothing.  Boxes of letters and books I haven’t read in years.  Varied objects.  Stuff.

Detachment from stuff is still little more than an aspiration.  Somehow I’m faced with countless things that must be enumerated, boxed, and shifted to yet another storage space.  Were they to vanish, I’d hardly notice their absence.  But I can’t bring myself to discard these weighty attachments.

Those who attain detachment– “non-stuff-having” in my friend’s terms– are able to live this nomadic life with what seems to be little effort.  Their travels and their relationships are unencumbered by the detritus of stuff.  I still admire them, and dream of reaching such a place, where I too can bear to shed these things that weigh and distract.

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1 Comment

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One response to “On being a stuff-haver

  1. Presvytera Elisabeth

    Mr. Hargrave,

    I wonder if I could trouble you for some assistance. I am a convert myself and my whole family was raised Protestant. My sister, who is searching deeply at this time, has joined the Peace Corps and has been posted to Mtwara region in Tanzania. She has been in a mostly-Islamic city for training and has been informed that the region she is heading to will be largely Christian. She is hoping to find an Orthodox community there and asked me if I knew if there were any Orthodox there. I have been doing some searching but most of the web pages are designed to let Americans know (generally) what’s going on in Tanzania, not to help them find a parish they can drop in to on Sunday. If you could assist me in finding the nearest parish, group that occasionally gets a priest to visit, or just person she could talk to, I would appreciate it tremendously.
    You can contact me at tealizzy@gmail.com. Thank you for your time.
    Sincerely,

    Presvytera Elisabeth

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