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.”