This is the question I spent several hours asking myself yesterday. I live in Oklahoma, and we were in a high-risk storm line, and got hammered with tornadoes for several hours yesterday. Prior to the storm really kicking in, I headed for a friends house, so I could take shelter with them underground, if necessary. Between us we had 5 kids, 6 dogs, 4 adults, and a large stack of important papers, laptops, schoolbooks and pizza.
As I searched my house for what was important, and tried to get it all put into the safest closet in my home, I remembered my time in the hospital in January. When I thought I was going to die, I didn’t want to see my photos one last time, or my camera, or send a final email. I honestly didn’t think about calling too many people. I was going home, and I was at peace with that, knowing that Jesus paid the price for me, I prayed. My prayers weren’t for my own soul or salvation, because I’d settled that with my Lord some time ago. My prayers were for the people that would be affected by my death – specifically my children and their dad, my parents, and even a vague “my other friends and family” – I prayed that life would go on, questions would be answered, and when they couldn’t be, there would be peace. I prayed that my death wouldn’t result in my children being angry with God. Somewhere, in the midst of all of those prayers, they sedated me, and five days later, I woke up. (Nope, I’m not writing this from heaven, but how cool would that be?!) I spent 9 days in the hospital total, got to come home, spent another 30 days recovering, and finally am feeling mostly like my usual self again.
So, what is important when there is a dangerous situation, such as severe warning? We had plenty of time yesterday to put some stuff up safely and get to our friend’s house. So, I’ll tell you what I put in the closet:
The school books that cost a good chunk of change. I don’t want to put off school if we don’t have to, not having books would mean we would have to.
The camera – because I love getting to take pictures.
My scrapbooks and pictures – because of all my “stuff” these would be the hardest to replace (although the majority of my pictures are online).
My box of car titles, horse registration, birth certificates and SS cards – because life is easier if I don’t have to replace that stuff.
Yet, as I packed all that stuff into the closet, I knew it was only important if we survived. I knew it only mattered on Earth. I knew that, although rebuilding through the devastation of losing it all could be/would be life changing, we would make it. None of that stuff identifies who I am, none of it secures my place in heaven, it doesn’t add or take away from the value I have as a person.
This is not to make light of the fact that people have lost everything in these storms. I cannot imagine how hard it is to walk through that. I have never been there, but I do confidently believe that, while it hurts to lose our stuff, our stuff isn’t what makes us. It shouldn’t define us.
What do you consider important enough to try to protect during the threat of danger?