I have found that there are few things in life that can have a very profound affect on one’s life and values. For me, one of those
things happen to have been a house fire in which everything my family owned was destroyed. It’s been just a few days over 3 years since I learned some very valuable lessons about material possessions and appreciating the things I have.
My mother and I left for a movie, only to receive raving phone calls before the movie had time to even begin. There were sirens, people yelling and a rush of energy penetrating my ear as I slouched down in my seat to pick up the call.
While rushing through red lights and speeding around corners, my life was to be drastically altered. Everything I had known was up in flames. We pulled up at 8:11, the fire roaring ten feet above the roof and three fire department trucks surrounding the perimeter of our home.
They had brought my cat back to life and handed her to me. My mother told me to find an emergency vet that was open and I sped off in her car, too stunned to shed tears, too shocked to function properly. After $3k and 3 nights in an oxygen tank, the cat lived, and we were all safe. That was the most important part, but 90% of our belongings were either charred or too badly smoke-damaged to warrant saving- and at first, that was hard to get over.
For the next two weeks I lived out of a hotel, refusing to unpack my bag until I found a new apartment. Everything I owned could fit in my suitcase.
The weeks proceeding were…well, horrid. Filling out paperwork, dealing with insurance, claiming and labeling items by value, brushing the ashes from old pictures in an album and letting go of memoribilia I had brought back with me from my round-the-world travels just a few months prior.
It was quickly that I learned to appreciate the things I did have and stopped dwelling on the things I was missing. I began to let go of the physical things and hold tight to those that really mattered. My goals, memories, friends, family and passions.
Sometimes I find myself staring at a flame. I catch myself in a trance, thinking about how something so small can affect us so greatly.