Learning to Live with Less

IMG_4466One of my biggest goals when I graduated from high school was to get my own place. I grew up with two brothers and spent a lot of time at camp, so consequently, dorm life did not have a huge appeal to me. I had a good scholarship, a great college job, and very quickly I found a fun place to live in a 1925 home that had been converted into a duplex. The landlord was awesome, as she let me use my “handy skills” to repair, build, and paint whatever I wanted in my place. Before long, it was filled with furniture and assorted vintage stuff – quite the college guy’s pad if I do say so myself.

As my college days came to an end, and with seminary on the horizon, I began to imagine what my next “cool place” would look like in Berkeley, California. However, not only was my zip code changing, but my financial landscape was changing as well. Available places and prices in this university mecca were completely different. I again had good scholarships and a great seminary job, but not what was needed. So alas, I bit the bullet and moved into a dorm with a whole menagerie of folks. And when I say I moved into a dorm, I essentially mean a moderate-sized walk in closet.

To make this major downsize work, I had to take all of the prized possessions that had made for such an amazing abode, and move them into my mother’s basement (all parents insert groan here). My new cubicle of a room had a bed, a desk, a bookshelf, a closet, and a three by five foot “open space.” Now the great news is, for the final two years I landed one of the penthouse dorm rooms which was the same as my cubicle, except it had a four by six foot open space. The really good news is I learned to live with less.

I am acutely aware, on so many levels, of how privileged a life I have lived. Opportunities have been given to me based on a whole slew of demographics that I fit into. One of the greatest blessings of my life has been walking with the sisters and brothers who have lovingly opened my eyes and heart to the reality of those privileges.

One of the intentional decisions that Staci and I made when we moved to Minnesota was to continue to work toward living more simply: to consume less and give more. If I was grading us, I would give us a B-. The intention is solid, the commitment is solid, the work is hard.

The season of Lent, when the mind of the Church is more focused on “giving up” and “taking on,” always provides me a solid boost of confidence that we truly can move to a simpler way of being… a place of taking less and giving more; and your prayers are always appreciated.

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