The Solace of Possessions

What is it about possessions which give us so much comfort? Why do we lose ourselves  in Home Goods, high on buying trinkets? Why do we attach pleasure to objects?

Is it easier to buy tokens and totems than to address the larger questions? Is it an escape from the life’s problems which peck, peck, peck? Is it a ridiculous hope – even a belief that a God-like force brought this thing to our attention to provide an answer, if only we could decode it? Is it a drug – the equivalent of a Valium or some wine? Is it a trigger mechanism, summoning up something from the past? Is it is solace, like the teddy bear we clutched, believing with all our might that we had a friend?

Or maybe we just love possessions because they make us smile?

I believe there’s nothing wrong with possessions if we keep them balanced with everything else in our lives. I went through a hurricane and lost a lot of stuff. Everything on my first floor. Brand new leather couches, which I tried to “air out” before committing them to the rubble in the street piled so high that bulldozers carried it all away. At the time it seemed like life was over, but really life was starting over. We were alive. The possessions could be replaced. We couldn’t.

That’s when I had to let go of the shield possessions provide. And that’s when I learned which possessions actually mattered (like my coffee maker.) In the end I realized that I lost a lot monetarily, but little that really mattered. There was a bin of pictures I had in the closet that got soaked. I used the light cotton blankets from Red Cross to lay out those pictures and dry them. They were saved.

I don’t think it’s wrong to find consolation in possessions. But like everything else, we have to size up what we’re using them for, and what we are hiding from. Perhaps it comes down to being self-aware. Beware the opiates of the masses. They are everywhere.

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