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What would you take?

This past Sunday I was attending a Bible study at my church, and we were studying the book of Isaiah. In the passages we were reading, the Jews had been exiled to Babylon and had resided there for about two generations. It was now time for them to return to their homeland of Israel. They were packing up, and the plans were to leave in a very short time. They had to be very selective about what they would take with them, because there would not be room to carry everything they owned.

The question presented to each of us in the class was, “If you had to leave your home very quickly, what would you take?” The leader of the group went around and asked each one of us what we thought would be the first thing we would grab.

I have considered this question many times. Every time I see reports on the news of victims of disasters, such as fires or floods, and the victims’ homes were completely destroyed, my heart goes out to them. Many of them get out literally with just the clothes they have on their bodies, and I think about what I would rescue from my home if I had to evacuate suddenly.

I was not able to answer the question. I admitted that I honestly do not know what I would rescue from my home in the event of a sudden disaster or a need to evacuate on short notice. I have many items in my home that are meaningful to me, and yet at the end of the day, it is all just “stuff.” (As a friend of mine used to say, “Everybody has their stuff.”)

For those who know me well, they have heard me say that wherever I live will be home for me, and I will love it. I’ve lived in seven states in this country, but for the past 30 years I have lived in Madera, in the same house. I plan to be in that same house until they carry me out in a pine box. However, if it happens that I must move, I will love wherever is my next residence.

I often look around my house, viewing the belongings I have, much of which was passed down in my family. It all means so much to me. What I see in my home represents lives of family and friends, and cherished memories. I’m sure none of it has a great deal of monetary value, but it is meaningful to me and to my husband.

I come from a family that loves yard sales, flea markets, auctions, and thrift stores. So, I have a lot of items in my home that were purchased at these sale places. Since this love for “junk places” is genetic, at least in my family, many of my family heirlooms were obtained at some of these places. My parents loved to go “Junking,” and they would buy some of the most wonderful discarded treasures. It is absolutely the truth that, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”

At the end of the day, what material “thing” really matters? You may realize that something can happen to that cherished item. We realized this important fact in our home. We have accumulated quite a number of breakable items that reside in our house. We also have accumulated a few cats that also reside in our house. The cats don’t see any value at all in those breakable items. Just my definition, a breakable item is able to be broken.

Do I need to explain that?

Enjoy your cherished items. Just remember, it is not the item you cherish, but what it represents.

— My love to all,


• • •

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

— Isaiah 55:12



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