I Am Only Passing Through

It’s a beautiful summer morning here in Montreal, a slight breeze is coming through the window as I sip my coffee in the quiet of my living room. I look around at my books. I can’t help but wonder if something were to happen and I had to move, will I be able to take everything with me. I say this from experience. I have lived in three different cities, in three different countries, in different continents, in the past twenty something years.

Things haven’t been easy for me. I have worked hard all my life to achieve what I have. But as I mentioned in my earlier post, I am someone who gets carried away with life and never learns from previous mistakes. Wherever I go I try to blend as best as I can. The first time I moved from Beirut to Dubai escaping the civil war that was raging through Lebanon at the time, I left with just two suitcases (one carrying as many books from my library as I could) leaving all my belongings behind. I lost most of my possessions in the move and this saddened me. But not for a long time. Both my husband and I were working and we were able to somehow make up for all those lost items. And then when it was time to move to Canada I lost most of my possessions yet once more. I left them behind (except for my books) because the price of transporting them was too high.

Possessions. How we get attached to things we own over the years. It’s as if the purpose of our life is to possess. First we buy things for our comfort, then we buy them to make us feel good as we love having them. Maybe because they make us feel self-fulfilled, or maybe our possessions define who we are. And now when I look back and think of all the things I left behind, I get this empty feeling, a feeling of loss and regret. Regret because I had been through this before and yet I did it again. The only thing that I remember with pleasure and happiness is the people I came to know throughout those years and the time I spent with them.

And now when I look around I find lots of stuff missing from my home, things that I would like to have but I don’t. And yet I am not upset or worried because I know that I am only “passing through” as Elie Weasel once told in his anecdote:

“Noting the meager possessions of a wise and famous rabbi- and deeply disappointed by the simple manner in which the rabbi lived despite the worldwide acclaim- a tourist rudely inquired, “Sir, is this all you have?”
The rabbi smiled, pointed to tourist’s suitcase and asked, “Is that all you have?”
“Of course,” replied the tourist, “but I’m only passing through.”
The rabbi nodded.
“So am I.” he said.”


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5 Responses to I Am Only Passing Through

  1. This is so true. After all, when the end comes, we can’t take it with us. All that we own is left with our descendants to deal with. Best to get rid of all unnecessary stuff before that happens. Believe me! I had to deal with a LOT of stuff my pack rat relatives left behind. It really has been overwhelming! We should all keep in mind, ‘we are all just passing through’. 🙂

    • chichikir says:

      Thanks Susan. Unfortunately I have lived away from my extended family and relatives for quite a long time. And I had to move a few times during that period not easy 😦

      • I can only imagine how difficult it’s been to move because of dire circumstances like that. I am glad that you have managed to find a home here and that you won’t have to move again. Stuff is just stuff. Memories, we hope, are forever. Take care. 🙂

  2. I cannot imagine what it was like to escape from a civil war and then give up many of your possessions — twice. It would be hard for me to decide what was most precious. But I like to think I’d adopt the same wonderful attitude that you have.

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