Too Much Stuff In My Hands

Every hand was full.

I’m not talking about my own hands. I looked around the airport and starting searching for hands that had nothing in them. There were entire families with not a single hand free. The kids toted miniature suitcases on rollers and sippy cups. Or they wore small backpacks but clung to a favorite stuffed animal with both hands. They’d made it through security and no one was going to tear their well-loved buddies from them again for a long time.

Moms had the overflow of the kids’ stuff: everything they’d pulled out of their bags while trying to entertain themselves or those items the kids needed to keep in sight for comfort but couldn’t carry. Of course, moms also had their own purses and carry-on luggage. Those who could juggle also firmly grasped a favorite Starbucks drink.

And then there were the dads. In some cases, they were nearly imperceptibly human. A variety of bags hung from every available limb. Often times, hands clung to two bags at once, pulling fingers in contorted directions. One dad had looped his arms through the luggage handles, so he could carry the entire family’s lunch, including a full drink tray.

The Styx song, Too Much Time on My Hands, played in my head as I watched people loaded down with stuff. I  slightly adjusted the lyrics. People getting off planes were juggling stuff. People getting onto planes were juggling stuff. There were those, who likely travel often, who didn’t have much luggage but still had a coffee cup in one hand and a phone, e-reader or other device in the other. I felt crowded, and I realized it wasn’t because of the people swarming around me. It was the vast amount of stuff!

I have too much stuff. I’ll admit it. I’m no hoarder. I don’t have everything I could ever want, but I have too much. How do I know?

Because I have plenty. My guess is you have plenty, too.

Plenty is more than enough. So today, I’m challenging you (and myself) to share. It will be a double blessing. Sharing will bless someone else in need (or perhaps want). Sharing will bless you, because it will lift a burden. You can’t possibly hold everything you have in your hands anyway. Why juggle and potentially drop it? Just go ahead and share it now. Be intentional. You don’t have to wait until something is outdated, half-broken, or forgotten. Hand it off to someone.

Share your plenty.

You had plenty of everything, but you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a pure heart. (Deuteronomy 28:47)

Obstruction

When I was young and travelled to St. Louis on Interstate 55, I’d strain to see from how far away I could see the Arch. My sisters and I would often have contests, and while they might have had height advantage, I sat in the middle – usually not the preferred seat – which gave me a less obstructed view out the front windshield.

When I travelled on a school bus for a field trip, shouts of “I see it!” rang out long before the Arch was visible. Once the Arch was actually in view, most strained to see it, so they could join in the chorus. There were usually several who were experiencing the sight for the first time.

The Arch is an architectural feat. It reflects the sunlight, clouds, water, and buildings with vibrancy. It stands as the tallest national monument, and it’s as wide as it is tall. Building from both sides, the margin of error was 1/64th of an inch for the two legs to meet at the top. And that’s before computer technology! And yet, it wasn’t all the facts that made me, as a child, anticipate the sight of the Arch. It was something about seeing something much bigger than me. Something I knew was going to be there. A marker to remind me where I was.

I still anticipate seeing the Arch, but it’s not nearly as joy-filled…not because I’m older but because it’s more difficult to see. Where my eyes are trained to scan and search for a glimpse of the Arch is now filled with garbage…literally. Apparently, someone thought the otherwise unused land in Madison County would be a great place for a landfill to accomodate the St. Louis area trash. A landfill that now stands over 170-feet, taller than nearby Cahokia Mounds’ Monks Mound, the tallest remaining unearthed structure north of Mexico.

The landfill isn’t as tall as the Arch…but it obscures all but the very top of the Arch until I pass the sprawling landfill. The Arch is a structure of wonder. The landfull is a pile of mess. The Arch is solid. It’s a place people can visit and  marvel. The landfill is off limits to unauthorized personnel because of it’s instability. Of course, I’m not sure who would want to visit except the hoards of birds that swoop in for their treasures.

I didn’t notice the landfill until it obscured my view of the Arch. Now as I approach St. Louis, instead of anticipating the sight of the Arch and considering and appreciating the scope of it, I see a massive pile of earth-covered junk. I think of wastefulness, greed, materialism, gluttony, selfishness…

I consider all the things that I let pile up, often trying to bury them somewhere I won’t notice them much. I consider how as I bury my junk, the pile grows. And it obscures the view of something more beautiful and awe-inspiring. My eyes might be trained to watch for and appreciate God in my life, but how are my daily habits affecting my view?

How are your daily habits affecting your relationship with God?

And how blessed all those in whom you live,
      whose lives become roads you travel;
   They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,
      discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!
   God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and
      at the last turn—Zion! God in full view!
Psalm 84:5-7 (The Message)