Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

'Our Stuff'

By Becky Siewers

It’s been heartbreaking to see the people interviewed on the news who have been affected by the floods and terrible winds.  One lady made the simple statement, “I don’t even have a pair of earrings left!”  What becomes “our stuff” in life can mean a great deal to us.  It is not until we lose that stuff that we realize what a loss it can be. 

We were living in a rental house and went through 18 inches of water in the basement during one hard-and-fast rain.  I can’t imagine what the people who suffered through the hurricanes felt like, but I do know what it felt like to see “our stuff,” even stored in boxes, floating around in that basement until the water went down.  And when we could finally go down to survey things, it was with a heavy heart to have to sort through things that had sentimental value, Christmas decorations collected over the years and items that could not be salvaged. 

I know it is “stuff” – but it was my stuff.  The process of trying to dry things out and, failing that, having to just throw things away, were challenges.  We can easily become attached to some things and take them for granted. 

My husband was kind and supportive, trying to help the best he could and reminding me that it is only “stuff.”  I knew deep down he was right, but that didn’t make it any easier. 

So the house could get the repairs it needed, we made the decision to move to a different place.  It really wasn’t that difficult to make the decision to move to an apartment, which would entail getting rid of some more “stuff.” 

I prayed about it and put some thought into what this would be, and God helped me find peace in what was to be done.  I thought of our elderly parents when they had to be moved from their houses into smaller places because of their health issues.  I knew it was hard for them to let go of their things; but until I felt that same empty feeling, I didn’t know how hard it was for them.  It’s like letting go of pieces of yourself.  Even when we know it’s the best thing, that doesn’t make it any easier. 

My praying led me to think of those men whom Jesus picked to be his Apostles.  He asked them to leave their “stuff,” their homes and even families behind. How difficult that must have been!  But their faith in him somehow gave them the strength to do that.

And what great rewards followed them. They saw Jesus as he ministered to the people, and that gave them the faith to do the same as they took over after Jesus died on the cross.  So what was the message for me? 

After letting go of that pain, I realized I would always have some kind of “stuff” in life that had meaning for me, but perhaps it was time for me to remember what Jesus wants me to consider important.  It made our move so much easier. I found peace as things were given to others, through donations, a yard sale and to family. 

We have everything we need in our new place.  I feel it was God’s way of helping me to be ready for that day when I may have to move to a room because of health issues.  I continue to keep the victims of the hurricanes in my prayers and hope they get the “stuff” they need to get back on their feet. But they also understand that we can always replace stuff; it is the life God gives us that makes us complete.