It’s Just Stuff, but It’s Okay to Cry
Baton Rouge is starting to get back into our homes to assess damage, salvage anything still usable, and begin to gut and clean. Pictures of rooms with shifted and toppled furniture and soggy sheet rock are starting to fill my personal Facebook newsfeed. Captions to these pictures are mostly some version of “It’s just stuff, we’re okay, we’re together, we’re thankful.” Yes, it’s just stuff, and most stuff can be replaced, but so much of it has value far beyond what money can buy.
Our homes are more than dwelling places. We arrange and decorate and build to reflect who we are and what we value. Our homes are where we bring our babies home and rock them in the same rocking chairs our mothers used to rock us. Those babies then grow to take their first steps across our living room rugs. It’s where we prepare meals and serve them on dishes that were gifted to us by our best friends at our wedding showers. On weekends, it’s where we cuddle with our families to watch movies under the quilts our grandmothers carefully and lovingly stitched. In our yards are gardens that we planted with our own hands, dirt under our fingernails, and nurtured to create beautiful outdoor spaces for our families. And in hidden spots around our homes, it’s where we mark the growth of our children with rulers and pens.
If the flood washed this away from you, it’s okay to feel sad. You are not selfish or materialistic if you mourn the loss of your wedding album, your children’s baby books, the painted masterpiece from your niece, your favorite pair of oh so comfy but super cute shoes. The hand-me-down piano and your child’s first lovey are important. Yes, human life is far more valuable. You can be thankful to have your family altogether, healthy, and safe while simultaneously feeling sad about the personal and sentimental possessions you lost. Baton Rouge, we say “it’s just stuff,” but don’t be ashamed to cry.