First, it was putting some boxes in a 5X5 foot storage cube. Then it was a donation truck – by the time we were done donating the stuff from our house (the bike Dante would grow into, our winter coats, furniture that we wouldn’t lug any further) … well, we’d filled up halfof a 20-foot truck. When we moved, all our remaining possessions fit in a 10X1o space. And now we have sold both of our cars. Our keyrings feel strangely empty.
I thought giving all this stuff away would be hard. Then one merciful word entered my brain and stayed there: Divesting. We all know investing – whether it’s putting value into things that we pay for and bring home, investments are supposed to accumulate, one way or the other. Another word, vest, means not only what we wear, but where we place power – you’ve probably heard, “by the power vested in me…” These are big issues in life – money, power, ownership, identity. When we give our stuff away, we give up each of those four things, to some extent. And I thought that would be really hard.
Divest can mean to strip, to deprive, to take away. It can also mean “to free from.” And what I felt when we stripped away all of that stuff was freedom – to fly away to Malaysia – but moreover, I felt like by divesting that I was actually investing. Investing in others by giving them a bike we won’t be able to use, and nice furnishings, and ultimately, care for community through the good work done by donation programs. Investing also in being able to go to Malaysia and serve there. Investing in our family by being freed from stuff so that we can follow our passion. It was like a snake shedding its skin – losing something that held us together, and then being able to grow and change. Not losing ourselves, but opening up to connections that bless us and others. Divesting.
We loved our cars. (Mine was named Owlie, and Eric’s car was Volcano Red. Of course we loved them!) Now they are divested, having futures all their own. And our future now is strangely free … which is frightening and exciting, lonely and connected. In other words, it is open. As we pray that hearts and doors will be opened to us as we fly up, up, and away.