08 May, 2015

The significant endless roll

I pulled out this roll of wrapping paper this morning to wrap my mother's day present. My husband said, "Oh, the endless roll."

And he's right. It is the same paper we've wrapped all the birthday presents, Father's Day presents, and almost any other sort of present with all year. With one exception: we had one roll of Christmas-themed wrap.

To me it symbolises how temporary our year in Australia has been. We've lived simply. Not bought unnecessary things that would end up in storage next month. We've borrowed rather than buy. Made do, rather than buy. We're now preparing to give some more of our stuff away, including some presents we received for 21st birthday celebrations and our wedding (17 ½ yrs ago). Things that would probably have a place in our home if we were planning to make our home here in Australia in the near future, but we aren't.

It is different to the life we lead in Japan. There we have a greater sense of permanency, though we still try to live simply. Life as a missionary in a rented Japanese house forces restraint on you.

I seem to recall that if I were to get any more gadgets in my Tokyo kitchen (like a coffee maker), then I'd have to give something away just to fit it in my cupboards. Not that I have a large number of gadgets, but Japanese kitchens aren't built for storage. Mind you, I have a large kitchen by Japanese standards!

But we do have a whole drawer of wrapping paper.

Here we've borrowed camping chairs and sleeping bags. There, we've just bought three more of each (secondhand, to replace old ones we've outgrown).

Here we're giving away most of the few toys we own, because they will have been outgrown in three years time. There we have a lot of toys and games the boys are looking forward to being united with again, especially Lego.

Here we live with our suitcases in easy reach. There the suitcases are more inaccessible.

One day we'll return to live in Australia and then we'll invest more in material possessions. Just now, though, we're living with other people's things. Mostly we've not been able to choose much of what we live with here, it's been lent in response to an appeal for "the missionaries who are coming home". 

And it's been gratefully received. The cost of setting up a home just for a year would have been a waste of money. Storing all the furniture and all the other things that go into a home would have been prohibitive too.

Please don't get me wrong. We've had a comfortable year, an amazing year. It's just that every now and then something like a roll of wrapping paper reminds me that we're just temporarily here and that's affected our choices.

But again, I'm reminded of these verses: 
19-21 “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being" (Matthew 6, The Message). 
So, heaven first, then (at present) Japan, and third comes Australia. Sounds weird, but put that way Japan is home just now, still a temporary home, but it feels slightly more permanent than Australia.

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