One of my daughter’s very good friends recently wrote a compelling blog post about how we as Americans are often much too attached to material things.  It was very well written and got me thinking about my relationship with stuff, and after some thought, I decided that an emotional attachment wasn’t all bad.

With the recent tornado and flood devastation we have once again been reminded just how precious life is.  As long as your family, friends and pets make it through alive, nothing else really matters…..and yet it does.  Following every disaster, as soon as people are accounted for, families return to what’s left of their homes to search for things.  Not just anything, but items that hold a special meaning and are often irreplaceable; a wedding photo, a child’s first doll, or granddad’s journal from the war.  They may not be things of monetary value, but the things that we sift through debris to locate are treasured because of our emotional attachment.  In some way, we lose a bit of who are when we lose our special things.

Things can evoke a connection with a special moment in time…they add richness and color to the memory and allow us to recapture and relive some of the emotions of an experience or event otherwise lost or buried.  It might not have even been a moment we lived, but a love note to an ancestor or a bracelet handed down from generation to generation, can connect us with our past and allow us to dream and wonder about the lives that preceded ours.

For me, it’s the Christmas ornaments.  Not shiny perfect balls bought at Target, but the decorations that all have a story, gathered with love for over 70 years.  There’s the pale blue peacock made from the thinnest of glass that used to grace my grandmother’s tree, mom’s funky ‘50s baubles, and all the hand-crafted ornaments my family and I have carefully brought back from every corner of the world.  Each year when I fold back the tissue paper and unwrap each ornament I reconnect with people, places and memories that are a part of who I am.

There is of course no question that the people I love and who love me are what make life worth living.  I’ll never be a hoarder, or even a serious collector, and as anyone who knows me will attest, I don’t need to have the latest electronic gadget or designer handbag.  But amidst all of the stuff that I could easily live without, I do cherish and enjoy the special things in my life.