Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Traveling Light

One day I happened upon Michael standing outside of McDonald's. Now, if you are following my blog, you know that riles me. Not the standing. The McDonald's. If you are not following my blog, go directly to "Something to Eat." Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. In fact, if you have a $200, give it away. It feels good. Try it. You won't miss it.

Anyway, back to Michael. He asked me for 20 cents. I stopped dead in my tracks, looked him in the eye, and said "What on earth are you going to do with 20 cents?!" And thus began our conversation. We talked for at least a half hour. I'll recount his many nuggets of wisdom over several posts. Today's, nugget is about trust.

At one point in the conversation he said that he used to keep more stuff, filling several bags. Now, he travels light. Everything he owns fits in a small backpack. He says he doesn't need to carry all that stuff. In fact, when he has too many shirts (and by "too many" he means four or five), he shares them with his homeless friends.

Traveling light does not come easy, though. He said that those who hold on to their stuff still have hope. That made me concerned for Michael. Had he given up hope? Not at all. He said that when you carry a lot of stuff, you believe you can turn things around. Your stuff holds you to your past and gives you hope that you are in control. Michael eventually learned to let go of his material possessions and place his hope in God instead of himself. In return, Michael says God provides exactly what he needs each and every day.

Now, that sounds warm and fuzzy, but let's consider the reality. The man saying this fits his entire material life into a small backpack, has no job, and no home. Yet, he still feels that God provides everything he needs.

That kind of perspective and faith is hard to come by when things are going well. Imagine keeping it when everything has been taken from you. Would I have the same attitude in that situation? Do I have that attitude now? Can I get rid of stuff? No...I mean REALLY get rid of stuff? Do I trust that God will provide what I need? The key is knowing the difference between "need" and "want." That's a tough one. But I think it's a prerequisite to trust. It's a prerequisite that I, for one, need to work on.

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