Scallywag

When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

Useless Junk Or Prized Possessions?

April 2nd, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 15 secs

Marbles, once treasured, are useless junk once we’re grown ups.

Clearing out the treasures and useless junk left behind by our friend who passed away has been a formidable experience with one repeating theme. So much that we work hard to gather up, tend, and store comes to nothing when we’re gone.

Whether something is special to us as some prized memento or simply another piece of useless junk is surprisingly subjective.  If you really do need something, have long aspired to acquire it, or just like the look and feel of it, an item has value. We are like a tiny child who, curious, picks up some trinket, plays with it a moment, and then either casts it aside before searching for something better or squirrels it away for safe keeping.

As an exercise in observation, have a look in your cupboards after you’ve read this and consider the significance of what you see. How important is it really? Is it all treasure, necessities, or just stuff?

When I was writing my book, I came to the conclusion that value is not in stuff but in us. No matter how expensive or rare something is we are the ones who give our items value. Incredible as it may be, even the most exquisite jewelry is of no worth at all unless we appreciate it. Without our human understandings it would nothing more than useless junk.

That’s kind of shocking to consider, given how hard we strive to get it. As people, we’ve been focusing on and desiring our possessions for so long, we’ve lost sight of the origin of their value. So it’s not surprising that saying our stuff is pretty much “useless junk without us” feels so strange it seems ridiculous.

But consider this. One day, you will no longer be here on this earth and when you leave much of what you own will be sorted through to find anything of value. So much that you currently care deeply about will be recklessly regarded as useless junk. While the rest (a much smaller collection) will be carted off, given away, and often forgotten.

I experienced the same when my father died back in the 90s and also when my mother died years later. Things kept secret and special instantly become rubbish. Then, the burden of all that useless junk remains with those left who try (with varying degrees of success) to show respect by carefully dispersing what’s left.

There is a major upside to this insight. We needn’t sweat on all the stuff, treasured or not, and we can even rest easy about the useless junk we collect if we remember where value really lies (and that’s in you, your family, and in your friends). There’s something in us that is worth cherishing and, though we may not know it, it’s more desirable than diamonds and more priceless than pearls.  For it is we who are potential treasure and life lets us reveal it in our thinking, deeds, and words, which in turn reflects upon our possessions. Yet, they are merely a mirror. The value is in you.

Stuff To Keep You Happy

Stuff To Keep You Happy Or Why I Keep My Father’s Leg

Those Funny Mother’s Day Gifts

 

 

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