Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Thursday, May 3, 2012

You Can't Take It With You

This week I was talking to my friend Mrs. Super Athlete and the subject rolled around to material possessions.  We all have objects we love.  I am often guilty of this.  They are my possessions and I love them.  I don't want anyone to touch them.  When my nieces were growing up I would say to them, "Don't touch my (fill in the blank)." I would tell them that if they broke it, even if they were sorry, even if it was an accident, that my do-dad would still  broken.   This is especially true of sentimental objects that could never be replaced such as my Waterford crystal ornament that once belonged to The Guy's brother or Mrs. Super Athlete's Papa's boat.

Therein lies the problem.  When we love things so much, do we allow that love to influence how we treat others when there are problems with these objects?  Mrs. Super Athlete's family is all torn up over a boat seat because the boat belonged to her Papa.  The boat seat needs to be replaced but they can't find a seat that is exactly  like Papa picked out.  What to do now?  It is easy to wrap our emotions around possessions, especially things that belonged to those who have passed away.

I have a chest of drawers that  belonged to my great-great-grandmother, my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother and it is now mine.  I guard it from harm, polish it lovingly, and decorate it for every holiday.  I wonder what I would do if something happened to it.  I simply don't know.  I like to think that I can keep my priorities straight and remember that it is just an object.

Do you have possessions you love?  How do you react when people mess with your possessions?

13 comments:

  1. I love my things, but they are just things. I strive to have nothing that is more important than human feelings. I don't know if I always knew this, but it came home to me on the day that 18 month old Precious Angel almost barreled into my great grandmother's china cabinet--which had filled with my wedding china crystal.

    I caught him just in time. It wasn't the china cabinet or the contents that was utmost on my mind.

    Now if someone is deliberately destructive or careless, it becomes a different question.

    By the way, we will never believe the dish The Guy broke at your house was, "Just something I picked up. I don't even know where it came from."

    I cannot pass up the opportunity to bring up what Nick said when the Waterford football got broken, "It was an accident. Nobody got hurt. That's all that's important."

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    1. Jean, you are correct that they are just things but they are things we love.

      Nick is right but I bet he was still sad when it was broken.

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  2. Strange. Of all my mother's possessions, there are two that I treasure above all. One is her wedding ring. I never take it off; it's right beside my own wedding ring. The other is . . . a washcloth. It's old, probably fifty years old. It isn't a washcloth I would ever have chosen. It's worn thin, but the yellow and blue flowers on it are still visible. I relate it to her because it's so HER, so exactly what she would have chosen. I realize that to say I love that washcloth is inaccurate, because what I love is the what it represents about my mother, her taste, the fact that she used it. It reminds me of her, a sort of little "hello" between us.

    Those two things . . . well, it's just better that no one mess with those two things, the ring and the washcloth. The wedding ring will eventually go to my niece. I don't know if she'll want the washcloth, but I'll ask :-).

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    1. Maven Linda, isn't it interesting how attached we can get to things because of the emotions they represent.

      I am with you that it is just better that no one mess with my treasures. You niece might just want the washcloth. I wanted an odd thing of my grandmothers, her rolling pin.

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    2. Oh, that's really touching, Maven Linda. ;)

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  3. There are two things I treasure and will guard ferociously - my grandfather's mug and my grandmother's Sunday white gloves. I remember my grandfather drinking out of that mug every day (it's stained on one side where he drank from it). The gloves still smell like her and I keep them in a box on my chest of drawers. Every once in a while I'll take them out just to get a whiff from my childhood.

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    1. Cheryl,
      the smells are hard to let go aren't they. I love that they can immediately take me back to a happy time and place!

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    2. I love the smell of my grandmother's perfume. I bought a bottle of it just so I could sniff it occassionally and be reminded of her.

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  4. If I could save one Christmas ornament, it wouldn't be Waterford, sterling silver, or the auburn haired shopper in the 1950's coat that looks like my mother. It wouldn't even be the heart made from lace from my wedding dress that is filled with dried flowers from the bouquet The Guy sent me on the Christmas Eve we were dating.

    It would be a little green Christmas tree made from construction paper with some red glittered finger painting on it.

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    1. Ahhh, that is so sweet! That's why Precious Angel loves you so much!

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  5. Norma Jean was a genuine Royal of the Pack Rat Kingdom and forced me to take a look at the power things can have over a person early on. So I decided long ago that it was okay to let go of the things and hold onto the memories.

    I do have a ring I love that was given to me by my very best childhood friend. I think her mother about died when she gave it to me because it was something passed down in their family. I tried to give it back, really I did! And even though it's worn and doesn't fit anymore and the stone is scratched to high yonder....still, I love that ring. And I tell myself that someday I will have it repaired and polished and enlarged. It represents friendship and trust and honor to me. It has faithfulness wrapped up in it and heart and love. And smiles. My friend had the biggest smile ever.

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    1. WOW!!! I bet you really treasure that. What a great memory!

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  6. Growning up in the military, we had to get rid of our things all the time. When you move every 2-3 years, you can't afford the weight allowance, especially if you're going overseas. I was brought up to get rid of what I didn't use. When I married a military man, that way of life continued.

    I always thought I'd want things that had been in the family. And I do. But when my parents house burned down, taking with it many of my grandparent's possessions (as well as their lives), suddenly things didn't mean anything anymore. I now know, if I had to, I could live without things. Life is about people, relationships, committment. Things don't have any value compared to these.

    And yet, I do have special things I love. My grandmother's perfume, old family photos, family bibles, the little cross LTC bought me when we were newly married in Italy. But yes, I could live without them.

    Cherish your memories! They are what will sustain you every day. ;)

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