I made a donations run today – after trying to catch some fish for Jon D. on the peer at Ballast Point – and let go of 4 grocery store paper bags worth of stuff I won’t miss a bit. Now I’m home and clean (I was radiating smells of the shrimp and few tiny fish we caught. Ew.) and our 240 square feet of space is still overrun with STUFF. Having done laundry over the weekend (usually the only time I can manage to do it since our space doesn’t have washer dryer hookups for even if we were so brave as to cram the units in such a tiny house), I became acutely aware of how many items of clothing I have that are completely above and beyond what I require, and frankly even what I want much of the time. I don’t even know how it all accumulated.
There is a counter to the right tracking when the last time was that I bought a new item of clothing (my Kaleisia shirt; a worthy cause for 50% off tea days). The purpose of tracking this isn’t bragging rights so everyone knows how long it’s been since I last fed the corporate American machine of consumerism, but instead a purposeful look at how I am using my resources. Jon D. talked this morning about making intentional decisions about everything we do with God in mind and the betterment of the people around us. Rather than just saying I have too much, I need to focus on redistributing my excess so that I am helping those who have too little. This is about making a conscious effort to focus on my stewardship and brainstorming about how I can be making a bigger difference with what I have and helping others gain access to the things they desperately need.
For those of you that still buy clothes or are in need of some fresh, less hole-y ones, you should check out the link to the right for CYNY. James Barnett does awesome things driving around in his van and selling t-shirts (a one-for-one principle; you buy one, he gives one away) to turn around and clothe the homeless. Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself and to clothe the naked. So, obviously, we are to clothe our neighbors as ourselves.
Women in the Tampa area should check out the Underground Thrift Store on 7th St. in Ybor. The proceeds go to a great cause (as does anything your purchase in the coffee shop) or consider donating your own excess clothing items to go in The Lounge at Tampa Underground for the homeless/needy to adopt throughout the week. I’ll be happy to hook you up with contact info for guys who are there in the Lounge at least one night a week for The Banquet if you’re not sure what to do with them.
Also, if you’re looking to get people clothed – yourself, some random naked dude running around a pool from his crazy girlfriend, whoever – The Timothy Initiative does screen printing as one of their “micro businesses” to teach men in the Tampa area usable skills and pull them out of tough situations through positive action and God’s grace.
So, this has been me demoting my own consumption, promoting the consumption of good services and people’s love and help, and offering myself as accountable for the way I use what I have.
I have focused on the C.I.W., the abuses of cocoa workers in other countries helping create my chocolate, and now I’m looking at fair trade threads. Along that vein, the documentary “China Blue” is a sad, but eye-opening look at the making of much of the jeans bought in the U.S.