Things are just things. Houses are just houses. Phones, TVs, gadgets, cars. They are all just things. Now I won’t deny that things make life more comfortable, more fun, more convenient. But in the end you don’t find meaning in things.
Robert Frost wrote a poem about home, if you haven’t read it you should; home is where they have to take you in it says. Home is not the house and home is not your things. Home is where the people who love you are. Home is where your heart is. As long as your father and I are alive, you will always have a home with us because you will always be in our hearts. And when your heart leads you to your own home, where your love lies, we will be there just in case you get your heart broken and need to come home one more time.
The loss of things is always hard, losing a house, a car, things that get stolen; it always feels like a violation, unfair. But it is only hard because we invest our things with so much meaning. Whenever I see a story of a family who has lost a house to natural disaster, I always think “what would I take if I could only take one thing”. Obviously this is assuming that the living things, people, pets, were safe. Always, it is the photos, not the things. I have many things that carry memories, but the people are in my heart. The photos are the closest thing, the thing that keeps the memories green.
I think we invest our things with so much meaning because we don’t know how else to “store” the meanings. Our culture is so much about things and what they represent that we sometimes don’t understand who we are without the things. Work hard at knowing who you are, who you would be, without your things, dropped in the middle of an ocean, in a desert, in an emergency.
Enjoy your things, especially the ones you earn. They will brighten your everyday. But they will not brighten your life the way your accomplishments will. They will not brighten your heart the way your loves will. They will not brighten your spirit the way your children will. So try to remember, while you are enjoying your things . . . they are just things. Remember what matters.