Many of you have probably heard of or read about the raging forest fire in central New Mexico. On day 8 it’s still not completely under control and has displaced many people and animals while destroying homes and acreage. That fire came far too close for comfort.
There was a day last week that filled me with great anxiety and helped me to understand what is truly important to me.
As the fire grew in intensity, gobbling up more and more of the miles between it and my home, I realized that I seriously had to consider what would go or stay if we were called to evacuate. It was easy to include the humans and the pets. But what about things?
I quickly learned my definition of “valuable”: legal and financial documents, computers and electronics, vehicles, photo albums, and things I couldn’t part with or replace. Yet that left so many things to fend for themselves.
My husband and I eventually drew up a checklist and pared it down so that everything would fit into our two cars. And we had to reconcile ourselves to the fact that we might have to start all over.
Luckily, the gods were with us, and we didn’t have to evacuate after all. And I’m grateful for the lessons in this experience.
Things can be replaced, people and beloved pets cannot. I knew that intellectually but now I get that in my heart. I know memories, particularly those associated with objects, are durable because they are a part of me, even if they might vanish in physical form. And while starting over might be painful, I am a survivor and resilient. And those qualities are more important than an accumulation of things.
Now It’s Your Turn
If you suddenly had to abandon your home, what would you take with you? What would it pain you to leave behind? Why? What could you tell yourself about the things you left behind? What personal qualities would help you get through this?