A Shopping Bag Full of My Life…


This is a post from my friend Dena.  I’m so thankful that I found this post as I was trying to write something tonight.  You’ll be thankful, too.  Dena’s fantastic, and so is her writing.  Hope you enjoy this as much as I did!!

I’m sitting here in the dark right now, grateful for a fully-charged laptop battery and a backlit keyboard. Earlier, I was extremely grateful for a pitch-black basement, full of camel-back crickets that I couldn’t see in the dark…even menacing crickets don’t seem too scary when the tornado sirens are going off and the wind sounds like it’s going to rip the roof off the house.

I have my storm-preparedness routine pretty much down to a science…I’m getting to be a pro at it after so many Illinois springtime tornado scares. I move through the house on auto-pilot now. Change my clothes. Extra pair of jeans, shirt, underwear, socks. Large bottle of water. Granola/protein bars. Camera bags. Laptop. External hard drive. Battery chargers. The cat.

And my “tornado box”. All that is precious and irreplaceable goes in my little Tupperware box…the chipped, yellow glass “hen-on-nest” box where my Gram used to keep her wedding ring when she gardening or doing the dishes. A chicken made from a pecan shell…open the “wings” and a tiny paper Mexican mariachi band plays in a cacophony of glitter and color. The small plastic horse that my Grandad kept on the bookcase. A Murano lead crystal paperweight, “swimming” with tiny millefiori fish among the reeds. A now-broken thermometer that used to set on my grandparents’ desk.

My house is FULL of “stuff”. And all that’s important to me can be contained in a shopping bag. A Tupperware box inside a shopping bag, to be exact. None of my “treasures”, except maybe the paperweight, are worth anything. Except to me. Even my computer and camera equipment, valuable as they are to me, are replaceable. That little box, though…its contents are priceless. That’s a box full of memories…a lifetime of them.

After the storm tonight, I checked with friends to make sure they were ok. Everyone survived. Lots of limbs down, a shed blown away…damage, to be sure, but no one got hurt. My life is FULL of “stuff”. But all that’s important to me are the people. If they’re ok, it’s all going to be ok. We can all replace our trees and sheds and gardens and lawn furniture. We can sit in the dark for as long as it takes. It’s all replaceable. My friends, though…they are priceless.

I’m fascinated and maybe a little angry when I realize that I can shove everything critically important to me down inside a (large) shopping bag. That probably means I should quit worrying so much about the rest of my “stuff” and concentrate instead on building deeper relationships with all the people I contacted tonight. Hmm… The less I have, the more time I have to focus on people. Sounds a little like the way Jesus lived, doesn’t it?

About the author