Hi, friends! I’ve been away from the blog for a couple of weeks, getting my mom moved and settled in her new apartment. But now I’m ready to return to my regularly scheduled musings….
See that? It’s our favorite vacation spot, a resort on a tropical white-sand beach in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Not that we go there often. It’s expensive and the flight tires us out because of having to change planes and go through customs.
We’d made two summer visits there, which we enjoyed immensely. (I guess that’s kind of redundant. If we didn’t enjoy the resort, it wouldn’t be our favorite vacation spot, would it?) Anyway, after an unusual amount of upheaval in November and December 2012, Brent proposed a short winter getaway to the island.
I started packing, this time remembering my swimsuits.
So we arrived just after the first of January and enjoyed one day of snorkeling and kayaking. Then we found out what a tropical winter is really like. The other days we were there, the wind was whipping so hard we didn’t dare paddle out into the bay, lest we end up two or three hundred miles west on the coast of Cuba.
One day while not kayaking, we visited the resort’s boutique and gift shop. There they offered hand-painted Christmas ornaments, which we’d never seen before. They must only carry them in winter. We picked a favorite–one decorated with a hummingbird–and bought it for our next Christmas tree. It would provide a warm, tropical memory right in the middle of December.
Sure enough, eleven months later we pulled out our decorations and started dressing up the tree we’d bought and set up in the dining room. I opened a plain, white, cube-shaped box the size of a baseball.
“Hey, look–it’s our Turks and Caicos ornament!”
I walked over to get a hook for it. Wary of crushing the tissue-thin glass, I held the sphere loosely, not even bending my fingers around it. When I stopped beside the table where the hooks were, the ornament kept going. I watched in helpless dismay as the glittery hummingbird flew to the tile floor and, with a hollow “pop,” shattered into hundreds of pieces.
I believe my exact words were, “NNNOOOOOooooooooo!”
The loss of our souvenir grieved me. I’d assumed we would use the beautiful decoration for years to come. We couldn’t even replace it. I mean, we weren’t going to vacation there in winter again, what with the gale-force winds and the danger of an unplanned kayak trip to Cuba and all.
But after a few seconds, it dawned on me: losing that ornament didn’t cost us anything of importance. We still had our memories and photos from three trips to the island. We could even go back again. A broken ornament? Talk about a “first-world” problem!
So I put on my big-girl panties (figuratively speaking), swept up the pieces, and looked for what the incident could teach me. As near as I can figure…..
1) All our “stuff” is gonna break or wear out or burn anyway, so don’t grieve too much when that happens. It’s only stuff.
2) On the other hand, it pays to hang onto anything that holds importance for you. Don’t lose something just because you were too careless to bend your fingers around it. If you want to know how crummy that feels, just ask me. Or any NFL receiver who has missed a catchable, game-winning pass with 0:03 left in the fourth quarter.
3) In the end, what matters most is not stuff, but people. Handle loved ones with care. A shattered glass ornament is just glass, but when someone’s heart or their trust gets shattered, it’s a tragedy.
Your turn: Did you ever lose (or *ahem!* accidentally destroy) an item that held great sentimental value? How did you reconcile yourself and move on? Or does the loss still affect you? I'd love to hear from you in the “Leave a Reply” box below.
Thanks for reading!