Sitting at the car dealership today getting an oil change, the woman across from me was crying on the phone. All I could do was give her a smile.
Another lady was reading a Nora Roberts book. One woman just stared oddly out the window the whole time.
The technician gave me my keys to leave and I had a panic attack. You know my issue with cars if you’ve been reading for a while. I can’t find my Prius in a regular parking lot, let alone a parking lot FULL of Priuses.* I looked at him and asked if he could walk me to my car in the sea of Priui.*
*I have no idea what the plural of a Prius is.
As I sat in the dealership I thought about our neighbor’s house that burned down last night. They think that the outside grill was left on. A friend from the news asked if I might do an interview and I declined. I just don’t feel comfortable talking about other people’s tragedies (unless someone says “hey, please talk about my tragedy”)
I watched a PBS documentary on the Amish last night. Something the narrator said struck me:
They are in our world, but not of this world.
They are pilgrims passing through.
They don’t get attached to this world.
They don’t get attached to the things of this world.
I wish I could get closer to that place. I mean I don’t want to convert to Amish-ism, but there is a part of how the Amish live that is very appealing to me.
And sometimes I just shouldn’t talk to people. In trying to reach out to the owners of the burnt house last night I said “well….it was a house.” The owner did a half smile and said, “yes, and we are all safe, that’s all that matters.” But then I thought how much my comment minimized what had just happened. Stupid comment. Of course it was just a house…but full of years of memories, photos, etc.
I stood outside after most of the crowd had left and watched the firefighters work. They cut the roof out with saws. It was just me and a policeman blocking traffic.
“Ma’am, step away from the hose please.”
All I could think was: What are they feeling right now? What if it had been my house? What would I have saved? How do you start from scratch? They don’t even have underwear.
And I checked the expiration date on our fire extinguisher. And I told another neighbor that if he ever saw smoke from our house to please rescue the dog if no one was home. And it made me think about things that I hoard and how those items intermingle too much with the items that I would want to save, how they dilute the things that are of special importance like photos, Boo’s drawings, etc. And how many copies do I need of a single photo? Can’t I just throw out all the duplicates? Everything that isn’t in albums….can’t that stuff just go away? Yes, probably. And why do I still keep my wedding dress? To show Boo one day? It’s not like it’s vintage….it’s c. 2001. It cost $800….and overpriced at that. I wish someone would just come in and get rid of all the excess without me knowing. I’d probably never notice.
Here’s what I’m thinking today: Things are just things….except for a few special things worth saving and protecting. And if, God forbid, I lost even those few special things, life would go on.
I think I’ve said this before, but when my grandfather died, there were all these trinkets in his drawers that he had obviously kept because they were sentimental. But no one had a clue why they were sentimental. I went through my jewelry box recently and got rid of almost everything….and anything that was sentimental I put in baggies with a note as to where they were from and why I kept them. Part of me thinks: yay, when I’m gone someone will appreciate that I kept this….but the other part of me thinks: I have now made this a burden for someone because they will feel like they can’t throw it out. This is a problem. People own too many things now. We consume and we consume. Remember when people could fit all of their belongings into a single trunk? I used to take a trunk to camp, it had almost my whole life in it! Now I would need 4,893 trunks if I estimate off the top of my head…just for my books and paperwork. Although, Mr. LBB and I did go through boxes and boxes of paper work the other day and sent six file boxes to the shredder. We are officially SIX file boxes lighter this week. Congratulations to us.
I want more joy….not more things. Things take energy. I only have so much energy.
So, what do I do? I make more things, because that makes sense right? More stuff. Like some “Banksy” inspired art:
Please Love Me is what we are saying when we accumulate and accumulate. Because that’s the only thing we really need. Love. And that’s really our only assignment in life right? To love others. And when love is missing we fill it with things.
P.S. As I cleaned out my purse today I found this fortune at the bottom:
Love and joy are pretty much the only things that can please people around us.