The young man looked exhausted. His house had flooded then caught on fire. His new car was under water and he assumed his pets didn’t make it out before his home exploded. The reporter asked him one question; “What possessions were you able to retrieve?” his chilling response “Nothing”.
“Empty-handed I entered the world. Barefoot I leave it. My coming, my going, two simple happenings that got entangled.” – Kozan Ichikyo
My wife and I have been rattling around in a house to big for our needs for the last few years. We see smaller houses with less grass to mow close to us for sale and we always say we should go look at it, but we never do. Why? Stuff, too much stinking stuff.
We have lived in the same house for almost 20 years and added on and updated about 10 years ago. In 30 plus years of marriage we have only lived in three houses but we have accumulated a lot of stuff in those 30 plus years.
George Carlin said that “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” When you are 30 or 40 years old it seems like the goal in life is to accumulate stuff, not stuff you need but stuff you want. At 56 I don’t feel that way anymore. My wife and I were up in Asheville this weekend and I found some cool bicycle gizmo in a shop. It was not something that I needed. Twenty years ago I would have bought it, today I just categorize it as more stuff and I don’t need more stuff, none of us do.
I know way too many people who live by the mantra “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Many of the guys in my peer group are riding around town in big 4-door pick-up trucks. Why? I guess it just makes them look more manly, more outdoorsy. Never mind that they guzzle gas, don’t drive smoothly on the highway and are impossible for your wife to crawl into when wearing a short skirt, everyone else has got one, I need one too seems to be the rationale.
The stories coming out of southeast Texas are heartbreaking. Thousands walking away from their flooded homes and possessions in waist deep water to someplace else, someplace unknown but hopefully dry. We need to keep these people in our thoughts and pray. The recovery for many will be slow and for those who were living in or on the edge of poverty before Hurricane Harvey, the recovery will be seemingly impossible.
“Our” President, the poster child for excess, extravagance, and overindulgence will be touring parts of Texas today. I hope he will get to meet people like the young man I saw on the news this morning. It would be good for the man who loves gold and marble to look into the eyes of someone who has “Nothing” honestly it would be good for all Americans.
“Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can, No need for greed or hunger, A brotherhood of man, Imagine all the people sharing all the world” – John Lennon