Yard sales are a spiritual endeavor. The longer one takes to accumulate belongings, the longer the journey of a yard sale becomes. Up until this point, I have lived on the same street for my entire life. I moved out of my parents’ house when I went to college. I moved my self all the way down, three lots down the road, to a rental house that can be seen from my sister’s old bedroom. That means for 21 years, I had no excuse to purge items from my life that no longer held any utility. Baseball cards went in the attic, old bicycles went in the shed, magic tricks went in the basement, and so the story goes for my life thus far. Now that the yard sale is over, completed just two days ago, my spirit is exhausted. As strangers cycled in and out of the house, I struggled to put value to the things I owned for so long. Bargain hunters tried to haggle down prices on paintings from South Africa to a couple of bucks while I stared at my hands, clenching so tight as I convince myself that agreeing to let a priceless item go for two dollars does not diminish the memories. When I sold my PlayStation for $10, guilt ran across my body as I looked at my parents and remembered when they bought me that present for $150 to start and $40 a game. I remembered the calorie-burning nights of Dance Dance Revolution and epic battles to claim Guitar Hero Champion. Then I watched, solemnly, as the thieves tossed it all in the trunk and drove it out of my life.
The house is emptying out as Hilary and I prepare for our move to Chimaltenango, Guatemala. We’re almost 2 months happily married and each day we hold each other’s hand as we let go of the past and prepare for all that is to come. On September 10, we will leave America for a year to study and work at a community development project in rural Central America. Although my parents keep hoping that this is a gap year before Hil and I settle down to work for real people money and crank out beautiful children, the reality is that we’re about to start an insane journey that we want to pursue for as long as we’re alive. Our dream and our calling are to travel and serve impoverished communities abroad. It’s definitely not easy to leave home, family, and friends behind, not to mention the pile of wedding gifts that were given so graciously by the most loving and supportive individuals. It has been a pretty depressing exercise to sort out which of our things we can fit in a corner of my parents’ attic in case we return and need to furnish a home. We’re keeping the crockpot but dishing the crystal because we like to party but we hate pageantry. We like to think we’ll be able to put these gifts to use again, but there’s a good chance home will forever be inaccessible by U-Haul. However, with technology ever advancing, maybe in a few years we can ship all our stuff with a Kindle Teleporter by Amazon (I want royalties), and all of our sifting will have been for naught.
As it usually goes, “Out of sight/ Out of mind,” and I’m recovering from the two-decade purge as I realize it’s better to have a couple dollars per item than an attic full of old junk. I think the bitterness is retreating from the hearts of friends, caused by our decision to abandon them, and we emotionally spend our last couple of weeks together before the flight. Of course, this isn’t the end, and people are considering adding ‘ticket to Guatemala’ into their annual budget. Hil and I are crossing our fingers that we won’t miss any weddings, and my newborn nephew will forgive us for not being around to spoil him like we should. We admit- we’re scared and naïve, but this is God’s plan for our life. I’m trusting that the blessings to come are worth more than any dusty attic junk and that my life will be fulfilled in unimaginable ways, though I’ll only have two suitcases and a gorgeous travel companion to call my own.
Thank you to everyone for your benevolent support, your prayers, and your advice. There will be many more blogs to come, and most likely enough pictures of beautiful Guatemala to make you feel a part of the journey.