The Burning House asks if your house were burning, what would you save? I love this question--which is a new development, by the way. When I was growing up I hated that whole fire safety discussion. It gave me hives. It brought me to tears. I didn't want to talk about a gathering spot. I didn't want to wonder how I would get from my upstairs bedroom to the ground. I didn't want to think about what might happen. I was perfectly happy with my head planted firmly in the sand, thankyouverymuch.
Okay. Having said that I'll admit that I still don't like that glimpse around the bend of the path of what-might-happen. But I do like thinking about what I'd prioritize, what I'd save. And I think what we choose says quite a lot about us. As Burning House puts it, "Think of it as an interview condensed into one question." It helps me see the big picture, which is this: I am lucky to have some things I like but, really, most things are replaceable.
So here's an idea of what I would grab if I had slice of time after making sure my family crew were safe:
- My set of scriptures that I've had since I was 17. I've highlighted, I've made notes. It's a record of my making sense of the world. A map of my spiritual progression, complete with tear splashes on some pages.
- My external hard drive with all of our family photos and many documents saved on it.
- A wedding picture of G kissing my forehead, snapped by one of G's best friends. I don't have the negative and I want to keep it forever.
- My flute. Because it's given me a lot of joy over the years. And it's portable.
- My battered, soul-baring teenage journals (and more recent ones, too, now housed in a series of smaller Moleskines).
- My good camera (certainly replaceable but well loved).
- The laptop containing my dissertation files and analysis (which I just realized I need to BACK UP, by the way).
- My super-secret red book of important information.
- My wallet (credit cards, drivers license, etc.), just in case. Sometimes it even has money in it.
- Not pictured because they're in the US: the box of love notes and the library of audio tapes I exchanged with G when we were dating.
How bout you? What would you save?