Have you moved recently? Packed all your earthly possessions into a moving truck and driven across town/state/country?
I have several times in the past few years. Even when we had a moving company haul our stuff from point A to point B, it wasn’t much fun. Purging and packing and hauling and sorting. Spending hours trying to find something which is invariably in the bottom box, behind the immovable piece of furniture…unless you think to look there first.
Each time I move, I am amazed that my entire life fits into a truck…even if it’s a very big truck.
But as I engage this Lenten practice, I realize my earthly possessions are not my entire life. I am more than the total of things I own. I am more than my stuff. My identity is not simply the product of some collection of possessions.
I am relationships. I am dust. I am change and energy and passion. I am wonder and amazement. I am because I AM.
These less tangible pieces of me don’t get stuffed in a box and labeled. They don’t get piled into a truck or the backseat of a car. They aren’t able to be stored in a shed or a basement or an attic. Maybe because these pieces of me, though grounded in earthly experience, are also connected to the heavenly.
And there is the tension. Earthly and heavenly. Some are quick to collapse the tension. On one hand, we have those insisting the earthly is inferior and serves only as a trial to be endured. On the other, there are those who dismiss the heavenly, calling us to focus our attention on the here and now of this very real and present world.
I don’t want to be “so heavenly minded that I am no earthly good” or so earthly minded that I cease participating in building the Kingdom here on earth.
I want to embrace the tension and find a way to live within it. I might go so far as to say this is what it means to be a Christian…being a citizen of two kingdoms; living in the already and the not-yet. Easier to say (or write) than to do.
As I continue to practice this living-in-the-tension, maybe the next time I pack my earthly belongings into a truck, I will also remember my earthly belongings do not represent the total of who I am or whose I am.
After all, I couldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) pack you in a cardboard box, right? And you, dear reader, are a part of me (sorry, but that means I am also a part of you).
Life is better together,