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Category:  Inspirational

Related Links:  | Inspirational | Attitude | Courage | Goals | Happiness | Self-Esteem |

Things of Value

By Steve Goodier

You've heard the question asked, "If your home were on fire, what you try to save?" Most people answer that they would rescue people and pets and as many photographs and memories as possible. The question we faced was similar. We were forced to consider, "If we have to evacuate our home, what should we take with us?" Or, put another way, which of our possessions could we live without?

Our area was just a few miles from largest wildfire in Colorado's history. We were on "evacuation alert." If we got the call to evacuate, we would have to grab whatever we could save and leave immediately.

We packed suitcases with a few clothes and toiletries and set them by the door. Though these things were not valuable, time was. We moved the computers ... I made a living with my computer. We cleared out books we sold from our home office. Those books represented our livelihood. We packed financial records - who wants to hassle with the government for years over missing documents?

Now, what else? We snatched family pictures from the walls and packed scrapbooks in boxes. These were truly valuable and could not be replaced. I grabbed a few sentimental objects from my childhood and stuffed them in a box.

Then we took a hard look at all that remained. There was a lamp that belonged to my great grandmother. A piano my wife Bev learned to play when she was a little girl. A hutch that belonged to her grandmother. A large rug we spent months saving for and bought for our mountain home. Bedroom furniture we wanted to pass down to our children someday. There were handmade quilts and gifts from dear friends and family. It was impractical to move everything from our home and store them for an indefinite time. Some important items would have to stay behind.

I never thought that my "things" meant much to me. I prided myself in believing that I would never let myself get attached to possessions, for things of the spirit were all that truly mattered. But these particular "things" pulled within. Those "worthless" coins and memorabilia from my childhood - what was that about? The furniture we inherited or grew up with - why did it call out to me so? Or that rug we bought together? Or the many items that decorated our house given to us by friends and family over the years?

The answer, of course, is that these things represented our love as a couple and a family. They also signified all of those people over the years we have loved and who loved us. And each had stories to tell. They told of all we'd been through together and where we were headed. They spoke in the voices of generations past - parents and grandparents.

We could not take the piano, but we could visualize how Bev, as a baby, learned to walk clutching the edge of that piano bench. We smelled the "old" and pleasant scents of grandparents' homes as we heard the wind-up clock chime or ran our fingers over a mahogany hutch we refinished years ago. We were flooded with memories as we gazed upon items given to us by cherished friends over a lifetime.

Some of these possessions of a life told stories about the people who first owned them. Stories of how they faced hardship together, how they raised their children and how they lived their lives. These "things" were not just things - they were memories, no less valuable than the photographs. They told stories about where we'd been, where we presently were and where we were going. They told stories of friends, of family and of love.

Most of our memories would be left in the house if it burned - we'd never have enough time to save the furnishings. And looking around at all we might lose, I found it difficult to say good- bye. But strangely, I also felt fortunate that I had been surrounded with objects that tell such warm and wonderful stories. Valuable objects; perhaps not in the world's eyes, but valuable nevertheless. The worth of all these things would never be measured on a ledger sheet. Though they were possessions, they were still things of the heart.

Someone wisely said, "There are people so poor that the only thing they have is money." And now I know. I am indeed rich. I am rich in friends and family. Rich in memories. Rich in everything that has ever really mattered to me. I am wealthier than I ever believed possible.

It took a fire to teach me.

 Steve Goodier's books & newsletter: http://LifeSupportSystem.com.

 

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