Fleeing the Muchness and Manyness

Monday, February 23, 2009

"... the courage to face the inner monsters takes a faith and trust in God that many of us do not possess (or don't want to possess), and so we busy ourselves with muchness and manyness and undertake our colossal enterprises to avoid looking inside." ~ Richard Foster, in the Introduction to The Sacrament of the Present Moment by Jean-Pierre de Caussade

I do so understand the muchness and manyness. I struggle all the time with clutter - you know, the cool stuff I find at thrift stores that they just don't make anymore. The useful, or might-be-useful-one-day stuff. The books. Oooh, the books.

And as a consequence of the books, the thoughts piled on other thoughts. The ideas and plans.

Wonderful, all of it, but also heavy, at times.

I've come to love the idea of the Sabbath, a time to stop the noise for one blessed day. Sometimes I think I could do away with all of it, and move into a tiny home. Something like this:

Or even something like this - I have a fondness for old trailers:

Bertie Denys, the main character in my second novel, moves into an old gardener's shed in the mountains, in order to pursue a devout life after the manner of Saint Francis of Assisi. About the time I wrote this novel, I read a book by Henri Nouwen, in which he told a brief early history of the monastic movement, which began when the Roman Emperor Constantine became, at least on the surface, a Christian. Before this happened, Christians were persecuted in horrible ways, but now it was actually cool to be a Christian. Before, if you were a believer, your motives were clear because you sure weren't following Christ for security or power or position. Now the best way to get any of these things was to convert - at least on the surface. It changed everything.

So some Christians literally fled to caves in the desert, to avoid falling into the "worldly" mindset that valued security, power, and position above all else. How could they not, while they were immersed in a culture that dressed the church in the purple robes of political authority?

Having once been deprived of these riches, they had found others too precious to lose.

I can't help thinking they have something to teach me now.

How about you? How much would you fear the loss of muchness and manyness? Could you live in a Tiny House? Or just a (lowercase) tiny house?

I'd love to hear from you.


Patti Hill said...

Yes, yes, and yes! A tiny house with a tiny floor (sans dog hair!)and no room for a television, only a few books on a table that I will give away as I read.

Manyness and muchness overwhelms me in good and difficult ways. I actually drive by those wooden shed lots and long for one that looks like a barn, not for the lawn mower, but for me.

No phone line. No Internet. No doorbell. Just me and Jesus and my wonderful husband huddled together. And yes, my dog. And grandchildren should they ever materialize. OOPS! I'm heading back to muchness.

Thanks for the lovely reminder to be still and know that God is God!

Kathleen Popa said...

Thanks so much for stopping in, Patti! Ha! Bookshelves would be my downfall. And one day very soon - grandchildren!

But like you, I look at those cute little houses, and think how little money, how little time they would take.

Could I trade my claw-foot tub for a tiny shower? Ouch!

I don't think I'd give up the internet, or the doorbell. I'd have to have my computer, because where else would I store the ebooks I'd downloaded to replace the... You know.

These houses pose some very interesting values questions. What would we give up, and what would we gain, if we moved into a house hardly bigger than our car? How terrible would it be? How wonderful would it be?

squiresj said...

I feel we all could do away with a lot of junk. Reading your books has reminded me of the times I have had to live simple. When my husband was between jobs, we lived in a Motor home and then a travel trailer. I stored so much stuff that after 2 years, I ridded myself of it. I need to do some more ridding now.
Books are my downfall as I love them to uplift and encourage me. But I have started sharing them because a good book setting on a shelf does nothing. So at church my books are now going all around the church. I even forget who has what. I have introduced many women to some new authors, including you.