Saturday, February 28, 2004

Easy Come, Easy Go
Some of my friends have come face to face with loss of possessions this week. One has a neighbor who lost her belongings to a fire. No renters insurance. Two children. Nothing left. Another has a friend who lost her belongings to illness. She and her husband, who are probably in their 50s, both suffer from serious illnesses. Her husband is in a nursing home and their bills are just too high. She is moving from her large, beautiful home into a one-bedroom apartment.

Its all very familiar to me. Both of my parents suffered from serious medical problems at early ages. My father was 49 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. My mother was 54 when she had a brain tumor. They had both lived high, with a large house decorated in the latest fashion. A well-stocked bar. The coolest music. Cadillacs. Vacations. The best restaurants.

I can remember when my mother and I tried to consign our clothes to pay her mortgage after her surgery. We learned quickly that our investment in clothing would not get us far. It was a tough lesson to learn.

And my father has downsized several times. Now he shares a room and a closet with a fellow Parkinsonian in a nursing home. He has 6 small drawers to hold all his possessions.

And having learned this lesson, I still put too much stock in stuff. Its amazing how we find comfort in what feels permanent. Stuff can feel permanent. But, its a house of cards. We feel we need things and services and entertainment. Its folly. I can get lost in plans to redecorate my bedroom. What color the walls? Curtains or blinds? One big rug or 3 smaller rugs? Should I get a new headboard????

I can't take it with me. Not even to a nursing home. And nobody will remember me for my bedroom. 100 years from now, they may not remember me at all. So how am I so easily distracted by the temporary?

I am inspired by the people of the Bible who are remembered for their faith and their Godly examples. We don't know anything about their bedspreads and curtains, but we know how they behaved. I hope I can be that kind of example for my descendants. I want my family to have a heritage separate from mere tasteful surroundings.


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