Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of “things”, so what I did have mattered—including my plastic doll named Sharon. The first time she started falling apart, my Dad put her back together with electrical tape. Over the next couple of years, she required quite a bit of that black tape. Did I think that made Sharon less valuable? Of course not.
I also used to drag a little, brown suitcase full of my beloved “Golden Books” around the house. By the time I was ten, those books had all been passed down to other children, but I always remembered them. One year, my friend Denise searched online and bought thirty 1950’s and 1960’s Golden Books, and gave them to me on my birthday. She knew the story and wanted to restore that piece of my history. Amazing, right? Those books remind me of how it feels to be loved.
This is a story about STUFF.
“The big, blue vase” was about 18” tall, and during the spring and summer—when my girls were young—it was filled with flowers from our yard. When my daughter, Erin, was seven-years-old she decided to carry “the big blue vase” outside, fill it with water and put flowers in it. You can guess what happened: it was too heavy for such a little girl, she dropped it, and it broke into a lot of pieces. Of course, she was upset. Of course, my immediate response was a panicked “are you alright, Honey?” Did I think, even for one second, “wow, what a shame the big, blue vase broke?” Honestly, no. How fortunate was I that my child didn’t get hurt? How blessed was I that she wanted to surprise me?
Our little cape cod was broken into twice when we lived there. The first time, anything the girls and I owned of value was taken. The second time there wasn’t as much there, but what had been replaced from the first robbery was stolen. Those experiences not only reaffirmed what really is important but also gave me an opportunity to say “Thank You God” that we weren’t home when it happened. Of course, it was traumatic and scary. And, of course, losing things like the bracelet my grandmother gave me, or the gifts my daughters made in grade school, truly hurt, but I had what mattered most—my precious children.
What really has value and what’s merely the “stuff” of life?
My grandson, Ethan, has a really small, stuffed gingerbread man, named Jack, that’s important to him. Ethan is in middle school now but, when he was about four years old, one of Jack’s legs got torn. Ethan was really upset and he took Jack to his Mom. Sara didn’t say, “it’s only a three-inch toy that doesn’t matter”, or “why don’t you throw Jack out, you have so many other things?” No, she got out a needle and thread and put Jack back together.
I do have attachments to some material things: photos of my daughters growing up, drawings and gifts from the girls and my beloved grandchildren, heartfelt notes from Larry and my dear friends, notebooks filled with my hopes, dreams, joys, and ideas….the “irreplaceables”. But, most of the things in my home are just that…things. Unlike experiences and relationships, they can be replaced. But, sadly, for so many people, possessions become the center of life.
How much of the “stuff” in your home do you really either love or use?
Do you own things that you never even touch?
Would you be willing to let go of one thing each day for one year?
Can you find joy in experiences instead of possessions?
We honor things, hoard things, say that we can’t live without things.
We often care more for things then we do for each other.
We can do better.
Keep what really makes you smile, but let go of some of the “stuff”. Who knows, you just may make room for some other people. ❤️
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