Allow me to start with a simple question… have you ever heard of the TV show, Storage Wars? If you haven’t, the following sound bite from Storage Wars will give you a taste of the show’s flavor: “This is why I buy storage lockers. It’s every man for himself. Let the best man win.”
OK, let’s think about it. We now have “storage wars,” which are essentially auctions of property in storage lockers that people cannot afford to rent anymore. And we have “storage wars” because we’ve got thousands upon thousands of storage facilities. And, we’ve got storage facilities because people have so much stuff.
Bottomline, we have hundreds of thousands of people throwing their extra stuff in storage places, presumably, because most of them have too much stuff to fit it into their own homes. So, as I was driving by one of these storage facilities the other day, something occurred to me. We’ve got TOO MUCH STUFF, but we don’t have ENOUGH TIME for each other. We’re encumbered by so much stuff in our lives that making the money for the stuff, buying the stuff, managing the stuff, cleaning the stuff, organizing the stuff, insuring the stuff and STORING the stuff takes a lot of time.
I was talking to a sweet, young mom this week and she told me, through her tears, she felt like she had NO time in her life to slow down and dedicate herself to what really matters. Wow. I understood that. And, I bet you do too.
What’s going on with us when we’ve got SO many things that we have to put those things into storage… but, at the same time, we don’t have room for people in our lives? We don’t have enough room in our schedule to have lunch with a military wife whose husband is overseas. We don’t have enough time to sit with an elderly neighbor whose family has stopped visiting. We don’t have enough time for a phone chat with a widowed mom whose in a rough place and needs someone to listen. Or, maybe worse, we don’t have the time to sit down and read a book with our daughter. Or, we don’t have the time to talk with our teenage son about the issues in his life. Hmmm… but, we DO have enough time to go out and make enough money so we can buy so much stuff that we have to pay to store it in a storage facility.
Now, I’m not against capitalism or commerce; however, did you know research shows that kids “most likely to succeed” have parents who spend time with them… NOT parents who buy them a bunch of stuff… or give them whatever they want? Nope, kids are more successful when their parents just give them time. I’ve also heard that research shows poorer folks often score higher on happiness tests than those who are wealthy, or, even middle-class. Maybe it’s because the middle-class and the wealthy are bogged down by their stuff OR their storage.
So, let me close with one last observation. Not only do we have a shortage of room in our schedules, I would argue we have a shortage of room in our hearts. And this is the problem. We have plenty of storage for our things, but a lack of space for people in our hearts and in our daily schedules. It’s so much easier to care about our things than to care about the messy people in our lives. So, today, I challenge you and me to commit ourselves to acquiring one less thing this week and, instead, using the time we would have spent on that thing to dedicate to somebody else who needs us.
Link to Jenny’s Brief Video COMMENTARY On This Topic on The Channelmom Show: