Brother’s basement, suitcase, or sell pile?

As we’ve been shopping for Christmas gifts we’ve been asking questions like, “Is this worth taking up limited space in a suitcase in July?” or “Is the joy this will bring in the next seven months worth getting it now?” The “Is it worth…” questions are causing us to live in a surreal space and they’re kind of killing the joy of shopping for Christmas.

It’s weird looking at everything we own, and everything we’re considering owning, through the lens of how it will survive the move.  If it’s not worth suitcase space then (because we don’t need it, can’t use it, or could buy it cheaper in Mongolia) it really worth owning now?

I can’t look at a Christmas ornament without classifying it as “brother’s basement” (state-side, long-term storage), “suitcase” (going to Mongolia), or “sell pile.” Because Christmas ornaments are only used once a year, very few of them will make the move with us.  Our Christmas Tree has, oddly, become a stark reminder of how temporary our ownership of our stuff is.

A friend got me a very thoughtful birthday gift.  Knowing that we wouldn’t have much room to pack she said, “For your birthday I wanted to get you something that you could take with you to Mongolia. Something small-ish and portable and suitcase space worthy. Because… the things you carry with you when you follow God to the places he is calling you, that happen to be halfway across the world, should carry weight for your heart and meaning for your life. Thus, some jewelry.

It is weird.  It is weird to know that in half of a year nearly all the stuff we now own will not be ours any more.  We’ll store sentimental things like my wedding dress, my grandma’s dishes, and photo albums.  Right now we think we’ll take some of our clothes, important electronics, some books, and a few things to make Mongolia feel like home (curtains, a homemade blanket or two, and some art work).  LeYanna may end up with a suitcase full of toys and I might bring a bag of art supplies.

This in-between isn’t good or bad but it is weird, and I’m sharing it to help me process it and to invite you to experience a little bit of how preparing to be a missionary is affecting our lives in so many small ways, right now, even as our anticipated move is months and months away.

Merry Christmas from a family in-between,

The Ellisons



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