What's Important?

waldo canyon 1Ten days ago, the Waldo Canyon Fire started here in Colorado. While there were some early evacuations and people who knew they might be evacuated, there was no damage nor loss of life in the first few days. But on Day 4, the weather took a turn that no one saw coming and 65 mph winds sent the flames into the city of Colorado Springs with no notice at all. By the time all was said and done on Tuesday, 32,000 people had been evacuated and 346 homes were burned (although we didn't learn that number for a few more days).

Even though we live about six miles east (as the crow flies - you couldn't drive that short a distance) and it wasn't terribly likely that the fire would make it that far, I also decided I wasn't going to be foolish enough to think that it was totally impossible. I felt that getting a few important things together would probably be a good idea, even though I'd most likely return them all to their regular homes before long. I'd rather be prepared and not need it than the other way around, I decided.

It's interesting when you start considering what would really matter to you if you had to leave your house with no knowledge of whether or not you'd get to return. Most of us have quite a bit of stuff, much of which we really like and want to keep. But when you view your stuff through the eyes of what you would take if you had to leave on a moment's notice, it's amazing how much really doesn't matter that much. One news station here listed it succinctly with 5 Ps:

  1. People
  2. Pets
  3. Prescriptions
  4. Papers
  5. Pictures

Of course there are memorabilia and heirlooms that some people will take with them. But when I was gathering items together, those five pretty much covered it.

Now, when the somewhat-less-than-immediate danger to us has passed, it makes me stop and really think about all this stuff. I've been in a pretty good de-cluttering mode in recent years, but now it seems that even more of it is not that important. It just takes up space - physical space in our home and mental space as I think about it, organize and store it, maintain it, move it around, and wonder if I should keep it. I think it's time to shift the de-cluttering into high gear. While I don't care to have to start all over, I do think that living lighter is a great idea.


caite said...

wow, what a photo!
I have considered that before, what to take if I have to flee my house and what will fit in the car..what with the ocassional hurricane and such...and I think you have it summed up.
what I found interesting is how many things I own that would not mean a lot to lose.

kayerj said...

I'd throw in my computer tower (since that's where all my documents and pictures are) and my 72 hour kit, oh and how could I leave without my kindle :) something to while away the hours while sitting at the red cross station. I'm glad you're safe.

Beth said...

i've heard other people say similar things. we had a couple of fires here in our area, too, though not nearly as awful as what COSprings has gone through. We've been praying for rain, for the fire crew and for God's hand and provision. glad you all are ok.

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