Imagine returning home from a shopping trip to find your house leveled! That’s just what happened to a couple in Michigan. A demolition crew was given the wrong address, and all that remained of his grandmother’s old home was a cement slab.
But the amazing thing about this story was their attitude! No anger, but a calm shrug of the shoulders and “Mistakes happen”. Perhaps their serenity is partly possible because of living elsewhere, while remodeling the house as their future down-sized retirement home. The only personal effects lost were some furniture and books.
“But what about the memories?” they asked him.
“Oh, I still have them,” and he tapped his head. “They’re all up here. No one can ever take them from me.” And how right he is. As long as our mind still works, we’ll always have our memories. Even if we lose everything else, our memories linger on. And no one can ever take them from us.
Why do we hold on to stuff?
As I listened to relatives discuss this very issue a few days later, I couldn’t help but notice a big contrast. They could never move from their homes, they decided, because of too much ‘stuff’. But the way they pronounced the word ‘stuff’, showed they questioned, deep down inside, how they ever got so much, and why they even keep it.
“I could never get rid of it though. I’ve got things my mother gave me, and my mother-in-law, my aunts, the kids, and just about everyone I’ve ever known.” So they hold on to it, unsettled and disturbed because their kids don’t want any of ‘the stuff’, and they don’t know what will happen to it once they’re gone.
I wonder just why they do keep it. Maybe to depression era children, raised in hardship, physical ties represent security. Or perhaps they fear hurting or offending people long dead and gone. Or even that the memories will leave along with ‘the stuff’.
But what a difference between the two scenarios.
A flattened house and nothing left but the memories. And the freedom to accept that and move on. And large homes, packed full of ‘stuff’, along with a lot of questioning. “I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t even know how I got it all. I could never move, and I can’t even keep my house clean — it’s just so much work!”
Which do you choose? Freedom or stuff?
Stuff that often complicates life and ties you down? Or a simple, less complicated life, with more freedom to move and try new things? And live life to the fullest — creating new memories in the process!
With or without the stuff, no one can take away your memories! We can’t take any of our stuff with us on our last day. But our memories? They’ll live on in the hearts and minds of those whose lives we’ve touched.
So which would you rather cling to? Memories or stuff?