Triggering everything 

I’ve avoided using my blog to enter into all the social justice and political debates. Twitter has been my outlet for this but it can be a pain to navigate because of all its limitations. But now I’ve decided to make increased use of this blog. 

America has become a really weird place. According to many, most of the values I embrace are antiquated, bigoted, racist, sexist and fit into one or more phobias.  There are many voices of reason though with whom I agree, ie Ben Shapiro, Steve Crowder, Gavin McInnes and many others.

It’s a good thing these people exist and have a voice. Unfortunately I don’t have their platform because, honestly, no one cares what I think or have to say. So at the risk of inviting a few scattered hate comments from those who allege to be the most tolerant of all, I’m throwing my opinions out there for all who might be interested in one more person to dislike.

There are so many topics to address it’s really difficult to choose one. I think I’d like to dive into the one about gender. Why not? I’ve heard it said that gender and sex are not the same. And yet, they really are. If you are born male, you’re a boy and if you’re born female you are a girl. When you visit the newborn nursery at a hospital you see boy babies and girl babies. You never see a sign marked, undecided or to be determined. There are many things in life left up to choice. A career, a place to live, a spouse. Sex is not one of them. Just like you cannot choose your parents or the location of your birth you do not get to choose whether you are a boy or a girl, a man or a woman. You can pretend but your body knows what it is.

It is a shame that so many people have decided to live in a fantasy world and are trying to get everyone else to live there as well. I am perfectly fine with reality. All the surgeries, cross dressing and weird names are not going to change the truth. 

Males are males and females are females. I don’t even need to prove this. Penises and vaginas have made the difference very clear.

Minimizing my minimalism 

Since starting this journey I’m learning a lot. My most recent revelation is that I do not want to live my life according to a term.  I am a member of a few groups defining themselves as “Minimalists” and have found lots of interesting people and useful information. But I have come to believe that many are living within this set of quotation marks who seem almost afraid that they won’t be true to the title if they don’t quite fit the mold.

Let’s go back a bit further. 

I’ve been a Christian for many, many years. More than half my life. For a long time I tried to make sure that I fit the term. I used all the right jargon. Made sure I called everyone brother or sister, said amen a lot. You know what I mean.  After many years, saying and doing all the right things almost seemed more important than the goal. The Bible is my handbook, the written source of all I know about God. But just reading it and carrying it doesn’t create a personal relationship with Christ. I have that now.  But it isn’t because I fit the mold. It’s because of the relationship that I have developed with Jesus over the years. Like marriage, the commitment takes a second but the relationship can take a lifetime.

Not my house

Back to the present 

I took a dream job on a ship where I would have very little space for stuff. I planned to be gone for 6 months and it didn’t make sense to keep paying for an apartment and utilities and so I left it all behind. The monetary value of my possessions was less than the cost of keeping them in storage for 6 months. At first I tried selling things. I did sell a few items but the clock was ticking and I had to be on a plane by a specific day. After distributing the most sentimental items to my kids I had to figure out what to do with everything else. I’ll admit it was difficult. There was nothing that I could not eventually use again in the future. But my plan was to be at sea for a couple of years. Little did I suspect that this would change and instead I’d be back in less than 3 months. You can go back and read about that another time.

And so, minimalism, was thrust upon me. But I embraced it. I took it to the utmost degree. One day I dragged my old sofa outside and not having a truck, hacked away at it with a hammer until I could haul it away in tiny pieces in the trunk of my small car. I removed every item from upstairs and brought it downstairs. The clock was ticking faster. If someone came in to buy a chair, they left with a bunch of other stuff as well. A hoarder would have been devastated by my wonton disbursement of all that I’d  accumulated. 

Not my house

I was by no means a packrat. Before the kids grew up and before my wife passed away, we had already downsized to move from our house into an apartment. But that is another story.

My goal was to only have what would fit and could be stored in my car, which would stay in storage at a family member’s home.

I met that goal. 

Now here I am just a few months later with much less than most minimalists. What is not in my car is in the room where I am staying. I recently went on a road trip up north and literally had all that I own with me. 

Not my house

As minimal as I have become,  I am avoiding the definition. I’ll admit that when I first started I embraced it wholeheartedly. I watched the videoes, joined the groups and took pride in this new identity. I made sure my Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other profiles all specifically identified me as a “minimalist” with extra large quotation marks!

I suddenly realized that I was doing the same thing I had previously done with Christianity. I was making sure I had the fish symbol on my car, went to every service, was on several church boards, etc. It was not until after I’d lost my wife that I realized that seeking God was the goal, not just talking the talk. 

Not my house

The same is true of what we are calling minimalism. I seek a simple, happy,  uncluttered lifestyle. I’m getting pretty darn close. It’s a bit late in life but sometimes you must lose a lot to figure out what is important. There is still a lot of tweaking to be done.  Ultimately,  satisfaction will not come to me be because I only have a chair and a tv and one piece of art on the wall. It won’t because I have less clothes than everyone else. It will be due to finally figuring out who I am and what I want my life to look like. With God’s grace I am going to get there.
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