Today’s theme: In light of recent natural disasters, tell, or imagine, of losing all of your material posessions.
I’m not sure I can really contribute to the true theme today. I’m really lucky; my life has been pretty good so far. No major tragedies, a few close calls, but nothing really, truly bad. Enough to know that the things that are most important to me are my family and friends, not all of the “stuff”. But I look at natural disasters, personal tragedies, and other events and wonder about those who are not so fortunate. Who recovers? Who doesn’t? I’m not an expert, but I’ll wager that it has a lot to do with the relationship of an individual with their stuff.
I have had an opportunity to witness this first hand. My parents divorced about ten years ago (I was an adult and already had “separate” relationships with both of them, so the impact on me was more logistical than anything). My mother, through a series of bad decisions, blew her substantial settlement. All she had left was the stuff. She had to downsize and get rid of almost all of it. She just couldn’t do it. Everything had to be kept. She was using the stuff to cling to a reality that didn’t exist anymore, if it ever really did. Even now, when contemplating a move to be closer to me and my family, her only family, she can’t part with enough stuff to move into an apartment that she can afford. She has, subconsciously, chosen the stuff over me. Ten years later she can’t get past the stuff and move on with her life.
The coverage of these tragic events always includes interviews with the survivors/victims. When I see the interviews, I feel good about those where, yes they’ve lost everything, but their shoulders are square, eyes are firm, and spirits solid. They’ve gotten past the stuff and are moving on. But I am so sad when I see the ones where they focus on all of the lost things. Those people will never truly recover.
The First Commandment states that “You should have no other gods before me”. My church teaches that anything can be a god. Money, possessions, power, or anything that becomes disproportionately important has become a god in your life. God and family come first, everything else is extra. Keeping that in perspective will help me get through anything, because there but for the grace of God go I.