Possessions can cling to us forever if we allow them to. Houses and rooms are filled with things. Most often, these things hold great meaning thus we feel the need to keep them for life.
But, keeping them forever isn’t always feasible or conducive to life’s circumstances. I hold onto my stories like they’re gold. I back them up on flash drives, I print them, I contact editors to make sure they have them backed up on servers. I worry and worry that I will lose the words that mean everything to me.
My mom clings to memories that live within tangible items, too. She has boxes of photos from our childhood, items passed down to her from my grandmother, and much more. My mom holds onto these things because they mean as much to her as my writing does to me.
I understand my mom’s need to grasp these items with all she has. I understand my mom’s need to never want to let go of these items. I have the same fear with my written words.
But, you can only protect what you love so much.
There’s no guarantee that the things we cherish will be forever safe. There is no guarantee that no matter how much I back up my stories, or how strongly my mom holds onto her mementos, that they won’t still be lost. Anything can happen — much is out of our own control. What’s more, clinging so tightly to things can destroy our inner peace.
When an unexpected fire burnt a dear friend’s family home down to the ground, he lost everything. You see, he’s a wrestler and he lost all of his trophies and championship medal. His medal was one of his most prized possessions; it represented one of his biggest life achievements. After many years, it was eventually replaced with a replica.
My point is, things come and go. True, that medal was torn away from him, but the champion that lives within him remained.
I may not be able to save every written word that means the world to me. My computer could crash, the internet could go out, and every copy could be lost forever. But you know what else is quickly slipping away from us? Time. If we spend all of our time clinging so hard to things, we will miss out on the true meaning of what all the things that are important to us really mean.
We can lose things and always have everything we need. Yes, that replica medal is great to have, copies of my stories are nice, and all of my mom’s random boxes are wonderful. However, if all of these things slip away from us one day, we will be okay.
What we truly need from all of these things lives within us. I need reminders that my words mean something, so I keep stories. But deep down, I know what I’ve accomplished. My mom appreciates the memories attached to her keepsakes, but better yet, she’s lived them. My friend likes the reminder of his championship win but recognizes that he IS a champion, with or without a medal.
Items don’t define us. Possessions shouldn’t cause us anxiety at the thought of losing them. We can let go.
Fight to keep your memories. Fight to collect everything that fulfills your soul rather than what your eyes can see and your hands can touch.