I’ve mentioned recently that we’re not having a great quarter, and this week (so far) has seen no remittance in the tide. Things could be much worse, it’s true. We have our health and our home (so far), and we have a wonderful family and amazing friends. We truly are very blessed in so many ways.
We just can’t pay the bills.
In the long term, I think it will be okay. At the very least, we will (hopefully) have learnt a whole lot. In the short term, however, my attitude has not been great. My faith has hit an all-time low, (which is pretty stupid for enough reasons to populate another blog post … and may well do so someday). I’ve been tired, demotivated and all-round depressed (not just in an “I-feel-kinda-sad” way. The real deal).
We have finally been forced to take action which included selling some of the things we’ve hung onto and, yes, treasured the longest.
When I first acknowledged that the time had come to take this step, I was really angry about it. I didn’t want it to be true. I felt that I’d been let down by everyone, including myself. We’d promised ourselves and each other that we wouldn’t stoop to this level, yet here we were.
But as I lived with the truth of our current situation for a bit, I had an epiphany: it’s just stuff. Actually, none of it matters. It’s symbolic at best. Yes, there’s meaning attached to the items because of who gave them to me, or when they were given. Each thing acts as a memory marker, stirring emotions and rekindling joy when I look at them, or touch them, or even think about them.
But they’re just things.
We recently had a near miss with a veld fire, and we packed up our most precious treasures so that we’d be ready in a moment if we needed to make a dash for it. Ironically, most of the things I parted with this week were the things I’d packed for our mad dash. But what I began to realise during the fire, and what crystallised in my mind this week, is a simple, profound truth.
Things are not memories.
Things are not the substance of our lives. Even photographs are simply a record – and that record really tells the world that, for long enough to press the button on a camera, you weren’t fully immersed in the moment. You weren’t living your life. You were just recording it.
I do love the photos I have, because of the memories they evoke. I do love every single gift I’ve ever received, and I’ve put my heart and soul into almost every gift I’ve ever given. But I’ve been so focused on the stuff: saving for it, choosing it, wanting it, getting it, giving it, yearning for it when I couldn’t have it, storing it, protecting it, wearing it, maintaining it, that I’ve missed out on all the precious moments that really matter.
So this week, Papa Bear and I made a vow. From now on, we will not give each other stuff. We won’t buy or even make things any more. From now on, we will make memories.