I’m heartbroken watching the California fires. The stories coming out of California are just gut-wrenching. I’m struck by how people find the strength to stand up when they’ve lost everything but the clothes on their back.
I was listening to the podcast, Broken Record, with Malcolm Gladwell and, world-renowned music producer, Rick Rubin, who literally just lost his famous house in a fire. Now, I know, Rick is super-wealthy, but he also is a person who probably has a ton of irreplaceable things he’s gotten in his life. Awards, artifacts of his industry, etc.
He said he didn’t really care about the ‘things’ the fire took, but he was brought to tears by losing the hundred-year-old trees on his property. The trees, the land, was what made his home special and a sanctuary for his peace. While he could replant trees, he would never live long enough to see them as they were.
It made me think about my own possessions. What do I have that if lost I would be crushed? Not people or pets, but inanimate object-type of possessions. If I could only grab one possession before getting out with my life and my families lives, what possession would I grab?
It definitely wasn’t anything like of a material nature. I could replace clothes, furniture, and electronics. At first, I thought I knew, oh, for sure it would be pictures. Pictures of my boys as babies, but most of these have been converted to digital and they are in the cloud, so while there would be a few pictures lost, I would still have many that were probably similar.
Maybe it was something someone gave me to me, but I’ve already lost my most valued possession. After my grandfather died, I was twelve, my grandmother handed me a tattered brown envelop, aged by the years. Inside it was a few pictures of my grandfather in the Navy, along with his medals. I had them for years, but somewhere along the way they got misplaced and I’ve never been able to find them. I still think about that loss. It was the only thing I had of my grandfathers.
I came to the realization, while it would be painful to lose everything, there wasn’t one thing I would have to keep for myself. There was one thing I know my wife, though, would want. She keeps a box with letters and notes I’ve given her over the years. I’m sure there are letters and notes from the boys as well. She would definitely want those, so my one thing would be that box. I know those momentoes are important to her.
So, as you get ready for Thanksgiving I’ll ask you the same question, what one possession would you grab if you could only grab one and everything else would be lost? Hit me in the comments with what you came up with, and if you’re struggling for great conversation at your Thanksgiving table, ask your friends and loved ones this question.