If your house was on fire, what would you take on your way out?
The most recent edition of Reader's Digest had a brief article dealing with that question--if your house was on fire, what would you take on your way out? Actually it was less of an article and more of a free advertisement for The Burning House website at http://theburninghouse.com. According to the article Foster Huntington, creator of the website, states that people need to think of it as a sort of "an interview condensed into one question." Each day he publishes a photo and list of one reader's answer to the question.
Now, in all honesty, I try not to think about things like my house burning down--especially now since the wife and I own our first home ever. Also, this is not the first time that I have heard the question as it has been offered in various retreats and settings as a exercise in values. For the most part I try not to think about my house going up in flames, but this time the question kind of stuck with me--that, and the fact that I needed a topic for a blog. I know, honesty sucks.
So . . . what would be my most prized possessions that I would grab if my house caught fire?
I would grab the dogs--Maddie the Boxer and Dora the Dachshund. Maddie has been one of the most loving and loyal dogs that the wife and I have ever owned--she's too sweet to leave in a fire. Dora, despite her stubborn German blood, is pretty loving too and always a hoot. I know that one thing that Dora would grab on the way out would be her dog dish--she'd die if she couldn't eat. The dog lives for food!
Canon Power Shot Camera
I would grab my Canon camera--it is my favorite toy in the whole wide world and it takes great pictures. My youngest son would want me to grab my more expensive Nikon digital SLR camera, but until I get better telephoto lenses I'm going with a sure winner. The external hard drive has all of my pictures--I mean all my pictures. I just cringe whenever I think about losing all that family story. And, so I can continue to save my pictures and share them with others I would save one of the computers--the Toshiba is the newest and fastest. I'd even let my IPad go up in flames in favor of the most versatile laptop. Gotta have my camera.
I would have said my Kindle but ever since a person can download Kindle onto a computer I think I can afford to let the Kindle go up in flames. I would miss my books--I've got lots of books and few of them have been put onto the Kindle account. I would especially miss my Montana collection and books on spirituality.
Old School Zune
My old school Zune . . . definitely would have to have my music. Thankfully just because I use an old school Zune doesn't mean that I am not new school--I have put the majority of the music I own on the external hard drive. Losing my music would almost be as big of a shock as losing all of my books . . . if I had to rely upon making my own music . . . well, that would be a pretty scary and sad day for the world. The world is not ready for that!
Hiking Boots and DayPack
My hiking stuff and caps. Odds are I would probably throw most of the stuff I would grab into the pack--I have a fairly big day pack. One of the reasons for moving to Montana was to be able to go hiking and I would surely miss it if I couldn't go hiking. The caps, well bald men love their caps. I have quite a few and the one I would probably grab first, and the one I wear the most, is the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets cap--primarily because it would be the first one on the stack. Hey, the house might burn to the ground, but the old noggin won't get burnt!
I would also grab my wallet, the check book (which would mean I have to grab the wife's purse since that is where the check book is 99% of the time), and any other essential documents that I keep laying on the top of my dresser. Yeah, though it wouldn't be a high priority, I would grab my Blackberry phone--at times it is pretty helpful and my only contact with my children. I would grab the keys to my pick-up truck--maybe the Jetta--because I would need some sort of transportation. The wife would encourage me to take the Jetta, but I love my truck. I am sure that there are a few other things I would probably miss, but this is a good start and I could survive with just this stuff.
I imagine that there are some of you out there who are wondering about whether or not I would grab the wife or any of the kids if they were in the house . . . its every person for his or her self. No, not really. But the realist in me says that they would be able to get out on their own, grabbing their own prize possessions, and hoping for the best. Lets just say that family is a "gimme". Family photos--on the external hard drive. Important documents--on the hard drive. Hmmm . . . who would have thought that my life would come down to an external hard drive?
What would you grab if your house caught fire? Let me know, I'd be curious to know. I don't think this is an exercise in values as much as it is an exercise in what feeds one's soul. These are essential things I need for my soul. If I lost my soul in a fire . . . well, then I have lost it all. Everything else can be replaced but the soul . . . I am not so sure about.