Involuntary Simplification Plan

Have you noticed that from time to time simplification gets trendy? I’ve seen it come and go several times. At Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, I am in the middle of an involuntary simplification plan. I’m afraid the chance of it trending is unlikely as my two big ticket items are my bunk and my locker.

Bunk: At Bastrop FSC, we have a choice of an upper or lower bunk. When I say choice, I mean the Counselor has a choice. She chose for me an upper bunk. I acted disappointed; she seemed pleased. I actually preferred an upper bunk because it allows me to have a frivolous third item, a folding chair that I use to stand on t0 climb onto my upper bunk. We also have a choice of springs or flat steel for mattress support. The counselor chose for me flat steel. Again I acted disappointed which seemed to please her even more. I like a firm bed for back support so the solid steel works for me. The mattresses are 3″ to 5″ thick depending upon whether you measure the top, middle, or bottom. There are shelves under both bunks, shared by the bunkmates, the lower one used to store shoes and work boots and the upper for two books.

Lockers: These are 36″ tall, 20″ wide and 16″ deep, split vertically down the middle with French doors. There are 2 shelves on the left side and none on the right. The former owner of my locker had installed shelves on the right side which I removed as such engineering can cause trouble with the counselor during random locker inspections. I’m using the open side for my pantry and library and the shelf side for clothes. I marvel at how much some inmates get into their lockers. The Bureau of Prisons provides 4 t-shirts, 4 boxers, 4 shirts, 4 tube socks, a belt, work boots, 3 towels and 3 wash cloths. In winter, they provide a jacket. As soon as I could, I bought some good socks, running shoes, workout shorts, and over-the-counter medicine. I hope to get another pair of shorts or sweatpants for working out. I also bought peanut butter, crackers, and mixed nuts since we eat dinner at 3:00 pm and I get hungry in the early evening. I roll up everything that will roll and so far my locker has plenty of room for my……

Ten Most Valuable Possessions

  1. Ibuprofen

  2. Spare bottle of Ibuprofen

  3. Watch

  4. Walkman radio

  5. Peanut butter

  6. Running shoes

  7. Workout shorts

  8. My current books which are Collected Short Stories by William Faulkner and Map of the Soul by Carl Jung.

  9. Legal pad

  10. Bic pen

I have spent most of my life figuring out ways to have the things I love. I need to, and hopefully will, learn to love just what I already have. The Christian writer Richard Rohr is right when he says that this simplification leads me to a greater freedom where I’m no longer attached to and controlled by outcomes but just involved in the process of living and loving. I can trust that life will all be well because it is held together by love and Divine Presence.

Maybe I should ask for a smaller locker.