Saturday, November 12, 2011

in case of fire

A house two streets behind us burned to the ground yesterday. I can't stop thinking about it. What if I were to lose every possession in an afternoon? Matt raised the question, "What would you miss?" He looked up at his moose mount -can't replace something like that. I held up a spoon. It's plastic, and part of the handle is melted from when I forgot and left it sitting on a hot skillet. It was a wedding gift, though, and I've used it almost every day for 20 years. I would be sad to go to the drawer and not find that old spoon. I picture the burned house, look at the spoon, picture the burned house. Jesus' words stand in front of me -don't store up stuff for yourself that can be in your drawer in the morning and in an ash pile in the afternoon. Store up for yourself things that will still be there when the emergency vehicles have finally left. I once met a woman from Africa who moved to Canada to be a professor at a seminary. She put all of her personal belongings on a barge to cross the ocean. En route the barge sank, and she lost every possession she owned except what was in her suitcase. As she told me this her eyes lit up, and she said, "Best thing that ever happened to me!" She found freedom from stuff, and now she just owns the basics for life. Is it possible to find freedom from stuff before the barge sinks or the fire sirens wail? Maybe the question Matt should have asked was, "If our house burned, what would we still have?"

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