(In memory of my father and in honor of Father’s Day and all the good guys out there)
I was talking with a friend who was going through some tough financial times and he knew about those times I went through tough times too.
He once asked me what one of the toughest days was for me.
He had just had to sell off some personal possessions like his CD collection and other such items.
It made me think of a specific day – my wife and I were really starting to make head-way on our bills and income was getting a little better, things were looking up. Then we got hit with a big car repair, another bill came in, and suddenly within 2-3 weeks, we were underwater.
I had one bill that was already late and now I knew it would go to collections. I am not a deadbeat and I never wanted to be in that position. So I sold off some tools and things I never used. It made sense, I didn’t need them, no emotional ties or sentimentality with them, sell them, clean house, get money, life is simpler!
I still needed some money, so I took an old rifle to a gun shop. It was my dad’s secondary gun and I used it when I was young but I didn’t think about it. I was caught up in getting cash to pay the bill.
I went into the gun shop, negotiated and sold it.
Let me tell you, when I got in my car to leave, I was hit with such regret, sadness, and remorse I had to pull over. I was physically sick. My parents had passed a few years before and I suddenly realized that this was one of the last physical things I had. It wasn’t the last one, nor was it really that sentimental. But I knew then that I did not want to ever be in this spot again.
I still had the serial number and info on that gun in my pocket and I put it somewhere safe. Someday I may track it down and try to buy it back.
In the meantime, I know my dad really wouldn’t mind, he was wonderfully understanding. I tried to think if my kids did something like that, I wouldn’t mind, I would just want them to be happy.
It was a low point. But through that transaction I felt the love my dad always showed me. He gave, understood, forgave, and let me make my own choices. Dad saved me again and it was time that I did not need to be ever saved by someone else again.
I also reflected on the gratitude I have for my parents. They started from nothing, built up a nice family and were loving, generous, fun people.
Another thought that came to mind – it wasn’t really that bad to let go of a material item. Sure it was sentimental to some degree but now that its gone, my life isn’t any less valuable, meaningful, etc. It was just a possession.
Too many times we desire a possession and think it will make our lives better. We get it and want something else. Sometimes we hold onto things. It really isn’t the ‘thing’ but the meaning we give to it. Sometimes we even hold onto feelings, situations, memories – right?
Sometimes we have an issue, we have baggage, but even though we say we don’t want it, or we know it isn’t good to hang on, like some old gun, we hang onto that memory/situation/feeling. It becomes “our thing”. We all know that guy who can’t seem to move on in life because he has that issue – if he only realized it had nothing to do with moving ahead. (of course no of us ever do that, right?)
Funny how all those thoughts can come from a bad day selling a gun….