Sunsets and Stop signs

I have written before about my great belief in signs. Not ‘Stop’ signs or ‘wet floor’ signs but the kind of signs we receive when we are in need of a sharp nudge in the right direction. Sometimes the bustle of life blurs our vision. Suddenly we stop, take a breath and realize with some degree of shame, that we have allowed our wants to become our ‘needs’. Suddenly we have placed great importance on the insignificant things and insignificant people that grace our lives and have drifted away from the important things that should be occupying pole position in our brains, and no people! Big Brother should not be classified as an important person in your lives.

Tonight while putting the boys to bed on my own, feeling sorry for myself because my husband is away (again), I caught the end of a story about the N.S.W bushfires. If I’m completely honest these ‘disaster’ stories usually wash straight over me. Of course I sympathize with the victims and have a fleeting moment of sadness but with the fast pace of life, we tend to wake the next day in our blessed little existence to have already forgotten about the misfortune of those around us. I wake again with the boys and myself  as number one priority. But something about tonight hit me like a tonne of bricks

As I sit internally screaming out for a fleeting break from my life, another mother cries. Today she lost her home at the hands of the fires. This alone is a devastating blow, but rewind just six short months ago and she was also burying her husband, the father of her boys. Today she didn’t just lose a fixture or a fitting but the last tangible memories she held of their late father. Today they sift through the ashes to find something, anything at all, still intact to remind them of the man that bound them as a family. The thing that struck me most was her relief at finding a small fragment of his urn in the ashes. In the midst of her nightmare, it wasn’t the car, the designer clothes, the fancy furniture, or the ‘good cutlery’ that she saved for a rainy day that mattered. All that mattered were her memories and the people she loved. She would gladly have traded it all in for just one more moment with her husband, her friend, the father of her children.

While packing a small bag of essentials for myself and the boys to take on a recent weekend trip, I realized my world was in this bag.  The word ‘essentials’ said it all. Everything that mattered to me, to my family could be neatly packed into a backpack. Food, water, clothes and us (maybe also lipgloss). Whilst my husband was of course not inside our backpack, we were travelling to meet him, and when we arrived at our destination, our backpack would be complete.  It made me question why it is that we choose to surround ourselves with so much crap, when all we really need to survive is each other.

At the end of a crappy day when the sun dips into the sea (or at least it did when we lived in the Southern states) What is it that you keep in your heart, who is it that you hold on to and pray is still there when the sun comes back in the morning?

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