18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’
I don’t have any grain, myself. But you know what I do have? Baby clothes. Washed and folded, sorted by size and separated into bins. I installed built-ins in the guest room closet to fit all the little seasons and sizes.
All so I could rest easy knowing that I had enough tiny sneakers and sweater vests to last me a lifetime.
Now, fortunately for all the little sneaker-wearing people who live in this house, my life has not yet been required of me. But, nor have I required all that stuff I so carefully hoarded for so many years.
I moved winter girl clothing from the Bay Area, to Chicago, Chicago again, and two stops in LA, all so they could live in my guest room for when my next future daughter would need them.
And this while other mothers in this world didn’t have any lovely warm dresses at all to put on their babies.
I saved all of those things from a place of trying to be a responsible steward of our resources, and be able to use again things that we had bought or been given.
But, in his “Sermon to the Rich” I think St. Basil pretty specifically calls me out on it: “The coat, which you guard in your locked storage-chests, belongs to the naked; the footwear mouldering in your closet belongs to those without shoes. . . . Thus, however many are those whom you could have provided for, so many are those whom you wrong.”
They are strong words. But, to me, they ring true.
I still pass clothes from one brother to the next, from one boy’s drawer to another, and I have a few items saved that are of sentimental value. But, even though I hope to have another baby or two before this part of my life is over, all my stores of baby clothes are heading to new homes.
Packing up a huge box of my 0-12 month hoard to send to my new baby nephew, who just came to the family (with very little notice) through adoption, was a joy in all sorts of ways. It was a little hard, too. I am attached to those clothes.
But that’s exactly the problem. My Christian faith calls me to be recklessly, generously detached from my possessions. Even baby clothes.
Now I just have to steel myself to pass along the tiny little dresses. Gulp.
Kendra Tierney can be found tending nine chickens, seven children, and one husband in Los Angeles, CA. You can find out more about her here.