Just a House · 6 August 2022

When it comes right down to it, it is just a house.

Going through the death of a parent is not an easy thing. It is painful for all the obvious reasons. Most notably, because you lost a person you loved. Which makes getting rid of stuff seem like maybe you loved the person a little less than you should have. And that thought makes sorting through all the stuff of life a difficult thing.

“Oh I remember giving that to Mom…”
“I remember when we got that picture for Dad…”
“I remember being stuck in the house after Mount Saint Helens erupted.”

Those memories make getting rid of stuff a long process. Or at least a difficult one. At least until reminiscing brings up fond feelings rather than painful ones. Which makes getting rid of a house even more difficult. Especially, when that house was the family home where we all grew up.

I know that we should not place too high of a value on stuff. After all, it is just stuff. Atoms bonded together in a certain way. But somehow that stuff seems to hold high esteem in our minds. But I think I know why.

We tend to think that stuff holds our memories. That stuff holds our lives somehow. But inanimate objects are just that. Inanimate. They have no memories. They have no minds. They have no souls. We just think that they do. And so we place more value on them than they actually have. We think of stuff as more than just stuff.

No. I am not saying that we should not be sentimental. I am not saying that getting rid of some things should not be difficult. What I am saying is that even though we associate some stuff with family and friends and great times together, that stuff holds none of those things in them. Even though we often think that they do.

I am writing this because it is difficult to separate the house where my brothers and sister and I grew up with the memories that we had there. Yes. Mom said the house was an answer to her prayers. But might it now be the answer to somebody else’s prayer? Might it be the perfect house for somebody else to grow up in?

Sure. It would be great to keep the house in the family. But sometimes things do not work out that way. Time presses ever onward. And so must we. Even if it means giving up the place where we grew up. The house that we loved. The house that was an answer to Mom’s prayers.

And so we face the difficult task of putting the house on the market. Difficult only because we forget that a house is just a thing. Yes, a thing that seems to hold many great memories. But still, just a thing.

I do love that old house. Nobody but our family has ever really lived in it. But in the end, maybe God is teaching us all a lesson. Maybe He is telling us that the house does not hold the memories. It was a place for us to make memories. It was a place for us to bond. It was a place for us to learn to love each other and to love God. But it is still just a place. The house is still just a thing. Those memories and those bonds live in our hearts and minds. Not in the house. We hold each other in our hearts. Not in the house. We love each other. Not the house.

I love that old house. But in the end, when it comes right down to it, it is still just a house.

© 2022 Michael T. Miyoshi

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