When Less Really Is More -- article
This afternoon I started weeding through my files on home renovation, decorating and collectibles and found a wonderful article I had clipped back in 2000. It is from "O" magazine (May-June 2000) and is an excerpt from "My Grandfather's Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging" by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D. Here is the entire article:
"Long ago, my friends' little son and I became quite good friends ourselves. We spent a lot of time playing with his two tiny cars, running them from windowsill to windowsill, parking them and racing them and telling each other what we imagined we passed on the road. It was great fun, and I loved this little boy dearly.
At that time, these little Hot Wheels cars were avidly collected by most 6-year-old boys. Kenny dreamed of them, and I yearned to buy him more, but I could not think of a way to do this without embarrassing my friends. Kenny's father was an artist and preacher and his mother a housewife who brought beauty to everything she touched. They lived very richly indeed, but they had little money.
Then one of the major gas companies began a Hot Wheels giveaway: a car with every fill-up. Quickly, I persuaded all my co-workers to buy this brand of gas and organized us with checklists so we would not get two of a kind. In a month, we accumulated every available model of Hot Wheels car, and I gave them to Kenny. They filled every windowsill in the living room -- and then he stopped playing with them. Puzzled, I asked him why he did not like his cars anymore. He looked away, and in a quivery voice he said, 'I don't know how to love so many cars, Rachel.' I was stunned. Ever since, I have been careful not to have more Hot Wheels than I can love.
Many people have too many Hot Wheels to love. It can make you feel empty. A woman who found a new life after having cancer once told me that before she became sick she had always felt empty. 'I kept accumulating more and more goods, more and more books and magazines, more and more people, which only made everything worse, because the more I accumulated, the less I experienced. 'Have everything, experience nothing.' You could have put that right on my front door. And all the time, I thought I was empty because I did not have enough.'
The change started with a bathrobe, one of the few things she had taken with her to the hospital for her surgery. Every morning she would wear this robe, enjoying its softness and its beautiful color. 'One morning, as I was putting it on, I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude,' she told me. 'I know this sounds funny, but I felt so lucky just to have it. The odd part, Rachel, is that it wasn't new,' she said. 'I had worn it now and then for quite a few years. Possibly because it was one of five bathrobes in my closet, I had never really seen it before.'
When she finished chemotherapy, this woman held a garage sale and sold half of what she owned. She laughs and says that her friends thought she had gone 'chemo crazy,' but scaling back has enhanced her life. 'I had no idea what was in my closets and drawers. I did not really know half the people in my phone book, either. I have fewer things now and know fewer people, but I am not empty. Having and experiencing are very different.'
We sat together for a few minutes, watching the sun make shadows on the rug. Then she looked up. 'Perhaps we only really have as much as we can love,' she said."
Back to purge more files. I'd looked for that article more than once but hadn't been able to find it!
Hope everyone's having a pleasant afternoon.