7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess – Ch 3 Possessions

Chapter 3 was about possessions and just when do you have enough? After the first two chapters I didn’t have any high expectations for lessons being learned in this section. Apparently Ms. Hatmaker is quite the shopaholic. Her goal was to clean out 210 items from her house during the month. She would give away seven things every day.

I hate to admit it, but at the very beginning she lists out, “2,465 square feet. Four bedrooms. Two living rooms. Two and a half bathrooms. Nine closets. Twenty-six cabinets. Three bookshelves. Ten dressers and armoires.” As I’m reading this list I get to the bookshelves part and instantly the thought springs into my head, “she only has THREE bookshelves??” When it comes to possessions I don’t feel that I have a lot. However, I will admit that I have a LOT of books. When I eventually get my library set up (I’m still waiting on bookshelves, but they will have to wait a little longer) I fully intend on having way more than three bookshelves. So maybe I should pay a little closer attention to this chapter.

The good thing about this chapter is that Jen corrects the issue that I had with her previous chapter; this time she actually cleaned out her closets. Except, I was disappointed when she mentioned that she had stashed away clothes for this month’s give away because she was afraid that she wouldn’t have enough items to meet her goal of 210 things given away if she didn’t count these clothes as well. In the end it didn’t matter because she was horrified to see just how much she had in her closet. She did a good thing and donated a large portion of her good clothes to a woman’s shelter. I applaud her for that!

My favorite part of this chapter was Day 11. It was Easter Sunday and they decided that instead of having the fancy church service that they would take their church downtown and spend it by feeding the homeless. Knowing that there would be women included in the homeless crowd Jen decided to take a handful of handbags from her closet that were giant, roomy and spacious. She describes the various bags that she handed out. Then comes my favorite part…

And one little purse I debated on bringing. It was a tiny thing, hot pink crocodile by Gianni Bini, functionally useless but fashionably magnificent. Our street girls want the biggest bags possible, since they carry everything they own. A wheelbarrow would be a huge hit. So my little vanity purse was a wildcard, but at the last second with a conspiratorial nudge from the Spirit, I threw it in.

Not surprisingly, it was the last purse left. What self-respecting homeless woman picks a hot pink purse that would barely carry her bus pass? Glamour handbags are only for women who have eight others and a house in which to stash them. So I stood there with my one little purse, when it’s rightful owner, the one for whom I daresay that purse was stitched together, made a beeline for me.

She had on her Easter finest, tights included, though it was ninety degrees. Flouncy dress with – what else? – hot pink flowers. Hair done in sections with matching beads, pink floppy hat on standby. Leather dress shoes polished to a sheen. Dainty ribbon necklace and rings on four fingers.

She was six-years-old. Her name was NeNe.

Never has a purse better matched its owner. She slipped that hot pink number over her arm and never put it down, not even to eat. Her mom looked at me and no words were necessary; mothers speak a silent language. I took her picture and fussed over her beauty and breathed a thank you to Jesus for the nudge.”

It was just a little pink purse that probably sat in the author’s closet, untouched, for years. It meant nothing to her, but it meant the world to this little girl. I bet that purse was this child’s most treasured possession for years. It’s amazing what we can take for granted, but it means everything to somebody else.

At the end of the chapter Ms. Hatmaker and her friends had managed to help furnish at least two apartments for families who were having a hard time making ends meet and could use the help. Jen and her friends ended up creating a room in her friend’s house where they could have supplies all sorted and organized so that the next time they received a call that something was needed, it would just take a quick trip to the room to grab the stuff and go.

I really enjoyed this chapter and felt like it lived up to the original expectations that I had for this book. It was the one chapter, so far, that I feel like Jen really got into the spirit of getting rid of the excessive stuff that she had in her house. The book is looking up and I look forward to reading Chapter 4: Media.

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One Response to 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess – Ch 3 Possessions

  1. Jamie says:

    I hear you on the three bookshelves – I’m great at paring down possessions, but even with several major purges of our book collection over the last three years or so we’ve still got a ton of books. Thank God for men who are good with their hands and generously just keep building shelves every time their women fill them up. 🙂

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