Saturday, July 19, 2008

The detritus of our life

Wow! I get to use the word detritus again!

Today Tom videotaped the personal property in our house and garage so we would have a record for insurance purposes in case of loss (check this off our list of things to do!). Don't worry, I'm not going to list it all, like I did with the detritus of my van! I really thought we were over-insured for personal property, but after looking at all the "stuff" and thinking about what it would cost to replace it all, I think that we're probably insured for the right amount.

But it's interesting to consider: if the house burned down and we lost everything inside, what would we replace? Some things we have in boxes in storage, and we have no idea what is in the boxes...but we can't bear to get rid of them (mostly books and such). It's all for "when we have a bigger house", whenever that is! My first thought is that it would be freeing to not have a lot of stuff, and to slowly purchase items to replace what we once had.

The more I think about it (considering how sad it would be to lose the mementos of our lives), I can begin to imagine how the loss of our house and belongings would be very similar to a death in the family. It's almost like the "things" in our house are a part of our past, and to lose them would be to lose the history of the life we have lived to this point: we've used them, they're ours, they are a part of our memory. It's normal to say, "Remember that old blanket you got in Mexico that we accidentally left behind on a camping trip?" and to reminisce about one lost item. But to lose everything and have to start over from scratch would be very odd.

Our personal property is almost all replaceable (thanks to insurance and mass production). A few paintings by Tom's mom are actually not replaceable. It's an interesting thought process to seriously consider losing our "stuff" and what it would feel like. I think I can't really know what it would feel like without going through it, and I pray that doesn't happen.

But as long as my family is safe, the stuff can go.


Kelly said...

I often have thoughts of-what would I take with me as I run out of a burning house? Then I realize that the photos and scrapbooks are important but the loss of them can be overcome. Perspective is needed to see that stuff is just that--stuff. Not all that important after a tragedy...but during daily life my stuff is SO important?
Kelly Weekes

Michelle said...

I thought about those things as well. I would be soo broken hearted to lose my pictures. I have lots and lots of photo albums but only have backed up the last 2 years on disk. It's sad to think about the possibility but it makes you think about what's really important!