The year after I graduated from college, I was helping a family unpack from a move. For weeks, I helped by unpacking a couple of boxes at a time. Yes – I said “weeks”. Even after they moved in all their stuff, unpacked the necessities and managed to live comfortably with only those things, they still had stacks and stacks and stacks of boxes to unpack. Stuff they probably hadn’t seen in years, and had certainly never missed. As I performed this mindless work, I made my first (and only, so far) Jonathan Edwards-style resolution: “Resolved, to guard against the accumulation of much stuff.” Ok, so it’s not very deep… maybe they’ll get more spiritual as I go along.
Until fairly recently, keeping this resolution was effortless. After college I was either overseas, unemployed, poor, living with my parents or some combination thereof. Then I got married and lived in a small apartment, so that wasn’t too hard, either. Plus, my very disposition has seemed to aid me. When I walk into a house where there is a bunch of “stuff” (usually knick-knacks and the like), the first thing I think is: “Who’s going to have to sell all this crap when ______ dies?”
I am willing to admit that this may not be the healthiest thought to have running through my mind, but I think there is an element of wisdom in it. “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” At any rate, certain things have never appealed to me. Especially things that aren’t particularly useful – souvenirs, most Christmas decorations, or china.
Very recently, though, I started to regret not registering for china when J and I got married. When I see china that women have received from their mothers and think about hopefully having a family one day, the thought of passing down something like that actually appeals to me. Even the silver rimming and frilly patterns, which used to make me gag a little, evoke “oohs” and “ahhs” from me now.
Fortunately, I have a generous father-in-law with an eye for bargains. As we were estate sale-ing today (yep, it’s totally a verb), we found a beautiful, surprisingly complete set of china for a shockingly low price. He was kind enough to buy it for me and I now own my very first heirloom item. Sure, it was in a different family 24hrs ago, but I am hoping to give it a new home and, eventually, pass it along to someone else.
In trying to reconcile this new, somewhat-sentimental me with my former resolution, I decided one china set was ok. While many people feel like nice stuff is just to have and store safely, I think nice stuff is to use and enjoy. So come over, and maybe I’ll serve you tea and crumpets in my dainty little cups and plates.
Just DON’T drop it…