Have you ever had an inanimate object achieve the status of a human. You realize that’s a bit of hyperbole; I don’t mean it literally. But we just achieved a minor milestone here at the new house and it relates to a couple pieces of furniture. And I bet it’s not all that uncommon for something like this to happen to others as well.
When we moved into the new house it was furnished. Not completely, mind you, but it did have some furniture in it. (We have decided that whenever we sell it it will be even more furnished because we will leave almost everything that is here with the house so that it’s a turnkey purchase and vacation home for whomever buys it.) Along with the furniture intended to be sold with the house were two, sort of mauve colored, recliners that a neighbor had donated to the project of selling the house.
We didn’t want/need those two extra chairs but we agreed that we’d leave them there for a ‘few days’ until someone moved them. From the conversation I understood that to be literally ‘a few days’ and also I got the impression that the chairs were being moved into one of the rental trailers (there are several park models here that rent by the month).
Well, a few days turned into weeks. I never said anything for a while and then I did, but still nothing happened. And, as we gradually got the inside of the new place organized those two chairs simply did not fit…. It wasn’t that they were totally hideous, just that they ended up in places within the house where I kept stubbing my toe on them, or where a door wouldn’t open all the way.
Of course last month when we brought things back from Milwaukee that we already owned the house became a little smaller but the amount of stuff you can cram into the back of a CR-V isn’t all that monumental — so it’s not like we suddenly had so much more furniture — it’s just that those two pieces never fit in the first place.
I moved them from room to room hoping there would be a better place to leave them, but really, they almost developed a personality — you know, like that annoying neighbor that many of us have lived next to with whom you just don’t sync!
It turns out they weren’t going into a rental trailer. After a few more reminders arrangements were made to set them outside where a local fellow would pick them up and give them to poorer folk who could use them and all was resolved. It’ wasn’t a big deal, but now that those chairs are gone I can’t believe how much different and more homey we feel. It’s weird.
There have been times earlier in life when something has been out of sync in one of our homes. I don’t think any of the occasions were quite as noticeable to me as these two chairs; but then I was a lot busier then than I am now. I’m not sure I had time to ponder things like that. Then again, earlier in life I’m not sure how much time we spent ‘decorating’ a new house. Most of the time we moved our furniture with us and we just found places to put what we had. This time we found ourselves purchasing numerous things that we lacked but not of them .
I came across this quotation the other day and it’s been on my mind ever since. I think there’s a great deal of truth in it. When things aren’t right we have ways of compensating or correcting them. The shoes that don’t fit properly give rise to bunions and blisters. The unhealthy diet results in health conditions. The unsatisfactory furniture send us to the store where we spend some ridiculous amount of money to correct something that really isn’t “wrong” — it’s just not up to our standard, or our preference, or our whim.
Therein lies the problem because discontent isn’t real. Discontent isn’t the same as a blister or a health condition. Discontent is all about ego; something isn’t the way YOU want it. And when we humans don’t want something we tend to go to lengths to get what we want. The military and political examples are too numerous to mention but I’m not going there today.
It’s funny that discontent often seems to blind us to side issues. Discontent is like tunnel-vision. The thing we don’t like takes on larger proportions than the everything around it.
For us, two chairs weren’t so much a source of growing discontent as they were something that should never have existed in the first place — but the experience served as a good lesson for me. I find myself reacting differently to things because of it and that’s a good thing. Learning from the day’s experiences is always a good thing.