In a class recently at church, we were asked to write down a list of our five favorite possessions. It was explained that family could not be on the list because our family is not our “possession.” Looking around the room, I realized I was the first person to complete the list — long before anyone else. That decision had been made many years ago, so all I had to do was write them down.
My five favorite possessions:
1) My temple recommend (a slip of paper signed by two lay clergy members of my church, which says I am worthy to enter the LDS temples).
2) My Dad’s little Bible that he carried through World War II and throughout his life.
3) My mother’s wedding ring (which was cut off her finger because it was old and thin enough to cut into her skin).
4) My paternal grandmother’s watch (which hasn’t worked since long before it was given to me).
5) Family photographs.
Many years ago I thought about what I would take with me if I had 15 minutes to evacuate my home in case of fire, flood, or earth quake, and those are the things I listed (after my 72-hour emergency kit). So when asked last week in Sunday School to write my favorite possessions, it was easy for me. I didn’t even have to think about it.
For several days I thought about this list. There is absolutely nothing of monetary value on that list. I have some things in my home that are worth something, though I’m not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, I did not list anything of monetary value. Yes, there are diamonds in my mother’s wedding ring, but since the band is cut, it can’t be worn as is, and I’ve been told by a reputable jeweler that if I were to take the diamonds out of this particular setting, the diamonds would most likely break. My grandmother’s watch is old, but it would cost a small fortune to repair, making any value it has a wash. My Dad’s Bible is so fragile that I keep it in a zip lock bag to protect it from further damage. My temple recommend and my family photographs (like everything else on the list) mean nothing to anyone but me.
This exercise was designed to make the class question whether we could give up our valuable possessions for the greater good of others if we were asked to do so. I’m sure for many others in the room, valuable possessions were listed, and they probably had to think about that for a moment. Obviously, if the valuable things I possess didn’t even make the list of “favorites,” that decision is a no-brainer and one that was made long ago.
Things are just that; things. So often we place so much value in “things” that we forget about what is really important. The last couple of days, I stopped to think about the “things” in my home that do have a little monetary value, and wondered what will happen to them when I die. I certainly hope that my children and their spouses won’t argue over who gets these “things,” because obviously, they don’t have that much meaning to me. I have my “toys” and enjoy them. They bless my life with joyful moments, but I would give them up in a second if I thought selling them would benefit someone I love who is hurting. What matters most in your life?