POSSESSIONS grip in life because we, as people, were made to possess things. The irony is we possess nothing when we die but our soul.
Certainly our penchant to possess can warp into idolatry when our grip tightens, and addiction and abuse are only two examples of binds that bury us and/or others in burden. Yet, not all possessions are so unhelpful.
I’ve been captivated to watch my four-year-old son with his belongings of late. Not the toys he’s received as gifts, but the things he’s made himself or accumulated. A keyring. A do-not-disturb sign. A biplane made from pop-sticks. A frisbee. A precious notepad and sharpened pencil. A Bible; one without pictures. A mobile we made together. A set of paper plates. He’s always been most captivated by the obscurest things. They’re so special to him.
He possesses these things. And whether he holds them for a day or two or months matters little to him. These accoutrements play a vital role in his play.
The life that small children bring to life is a perspective that invites wisdom. It’s not as if possessions that are important to others are important to them. There’s no comparison (apart from the unconscious modelling of their parents’ lives). There’s an intrinsic importance to these items that neither he can describe, nor we can explain. And the creative world of a pre-schooler continues to baffle the marketer.
What ‘toys’ make their way into his favourite things tomorrow is anyone’s guess. But I praise God that he chooses, through criterion unknown even to him, and certainly devoid of anyone else’s influence.
If only my creativity were so impervious to outside influence! If only my passions were so free of a consciousness beyond myself.
A small child’s creative play is beyond the comparison of envy. Ours can be, too. Imagine if only it were so. The freedom we could live as we reside in that creative space.
It’s important in life to possess the right things for the right reasons at the right time, and certainly not to be possessed by things.