We are odd beings with our predilection for collecting. Like magpies and crows we pick up shiny things and bring them home to our nests where we display them proudly. We gather more and more shiny things until the older treasures are pushed to the back and the new are out in front. The oldest are then carefully placed in cabinets and drawers, attics and basements and yet more shiny things sit in their places.
We collect all manner of things: jewels, shoes, and china, snow globes and vases, cow bells, carved birds, and silver, tea pots, paintings, and gold: truly, anything under the sun. To each of us, these wonderful things are precious, and we , some of us, go so far as to judge others by how many and what manner of shiny things are owned. These things infer status upon their owners, in disproportion to their intrinsic value, and foster avarice and envy among those not equally endowed.And yet they are only things. They have no heart, they can not love or laugh, weep or grieve. We may gain momentary satisfaction in admiring our shiny things, but in our busy lives, more often than not, these things sit and gather dust and become burdensome. They must be washed and polished, shined and maintained.
Ultimately, when we shuffle on off of this sparkling mortal coil, we must leave per force, our things behind for others do with what they will. Some few of these things may be of great value for the memories they provide, may bring on tears of remembrance, sadness and the pain of loss. But most are what they are: things to be divided up by those left behind, items with no remembered history, no perceived significance, things of little or no importance to current life.
But while counting and dealing with these collected items, what remains of the collector? Besides a bunch of stuff, the detritus of a life, the only concrete thing that is left by those we love is the weight of their lives as they impacted upon ours. The sound of laughter, the warmth of a hug, their generosity and kindness, the sparkle in a smile, the feeling of love, deep genuine love that abides in our hearts, never to be forgotten. Those are the things that are so far more important than all of the shiny things collected: important things to be cherished and remembered that are as intangible as the wind, but contain the force of a hurricane as they blow through the heart and psyche.