My husband hung 2 white shelves in my kitchen for me. They are the type of shelf meant for decorations. They look perfect.
The night he hung them we were all in bed and suddenly an enormous crash woke us up. My husband and I went flying down the stairs to see, in utter dismay, one of the shelves fell. The anchors were still in the wall, but the shelf managed to fall and everything on it crashed to the floor. Oddly, the decorative sugar bowl didn’t shatter. Neither did the clay bird my 15 year old made in kindergarten. The mold of the 7 year old’s hand broke a little; the base and one finger. The finger I can glue back on. Everything else shattered.
Someone mentioned to me how sorry they were that all my stuff broke. What I found interesting was that I wasn’t sorry at all.
Back track 4 years ago, I would have been so upset had this happened. I love elephants and one off the items that shattered was my little black elephant statue. The teapot my mom sent also shattered, as did the heart I made in Bible Study. I would emotionally attach myself to objects all the time. Why? Why did I have this attachment? I think it was a learned behavior. We are taught to put extra value on items that can reference any memory, emotion, or family history. However, none of these objects, aside from the heart, really had a meaningful story behind it. The story behind the heart is one I can simply pass down to my children, no object needed.
So what changed in the last 4 years? Why am I suddenly able to emotionally separate myself from objects I was once attached to? I think it was an evolution really. Over the last 4 years I dealt with so many unknowns, inconsistencies, changes, and more. I learned nothing is permanent or reliable no matter how hard you try to keep things “as is.” It took 4 years to learn this lesson and the comment from one person to realize I learned it.
So what does it mean? Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Frankly, I don’t think it is falls into either category. I think it is great to have sentimental attachments, but to a degree. We can’t attach ourselves to every little thing in our lives. We become obsessed.
I also think it is unhealthy to have zero attachment anything at all. We are humans and we are made to have feelings. That is one of the major distinctions between us and animals; and even then some species are closing that gap. But I digress …
Back to my shelf … Bummer the teapot, elephant, and heart broke, but it is OK. They are just stuff. However, had the hand or bird been shattered, I know there would have been tears. Why? Because, God forbid anything to happen to one of my children, these precious pieces of art that they hand made transport me to the time they made them. Their joy at showing me their amazing creations. Knowing their hands carefully crafted the items. I can see the pudgy kindergarten hands of my now 15 year old. I can see the sparkle of excitement in the eyes of the 7 year old. I remember odd things, like what they were wearing, and these objects help my brain to keep those memories fresh and focused. Sometimes we NEED the physical reminder so we don’t forget.
I understand this post is mostly babble to you and that is OK. I am realizing what things really matter in life because not everything can hold value, but I am also learning it is OK to have attachment to some things.