What We Leave Behind

We went to our first estate auction yesterday.  I tried not to think about the fact we were bidding on the artifacts from a dead person’s life.  It surprised me that even the woman’s cleaning supplies and personal care items were sold, but it’s better than letting them go to waste.

Just by looking at her belongings, we could see she liked to travel; she loved beautiful crystal and china, ornate wooden pieces of furniture, and fine art.  The many shelves of books revealed her love of reading.  The exquisite baby grand piano and boxes of CDs hinted that music meant something to her.

We acknowledged that she had a beautiful home, but her possessions told us nothing about her as a person.  Did she spend her life helping others or serving herself?  Was she lonely or surrounded by friends and family?  Was her life a delight to God or was God even a part of her life?

Of course, we’ll never know.

The things we own aren’t a good measurement of our worth.  The legacy we leave behind isn’t a fancy sports car in the garage or a house full of “stuff” – it is in the lives of others that we meet each day.  Every intersection of our life and someone else’s is an opportunity to be a beacon of kindness.

It feels safer to seek out those who are like us – in spirituality, lifestyle and appearance.  This is like eating peanut butter and jelly for dinner every night – it gets boring after a while.

Here’s to reaching out to souls who may be different from me.  These are people who can teach me about myself and deepen my ties to humanity.  This is my world and I want to make it beautiful.  (Even if it means not running from the BK guy if I see him on the street :))

“Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:31


20 thoughts on “What We Leave Behind

  1. Widdershins January 29, 2012 / 1:26 AM

    Or as we in the wiccan worlds like to say, “Do as you will and harm none.”

    • jannatwrites January 29, 2012 / 5:35 PM

      Being kind to others is always a good thing, Widdershins 🙂

  2. Pattyabr January 29, 2012 / 6:47 AM

    I have several friends who frequent estate sales. They actually find the adventure to be quite fascinating. Like an archeological dig. They consider their quest as respecting death and life. I think the best way to view someone’s soul is to talk to the people they have touched.

    • jannatwrites January 29, 2012 / 5:38 PM

      We enjoyed the auction more than I thought we would. We will probably go to another one in the future if it works with our schedules.

      You’re right, Patty – those close to the person have a good sense of the person’s soul. Thanks for sharing your insights!

  3. suzicate January 29, 2012 / 7:07 AM

    I’ve never been to an estate sale…the thought just saddens me.
    People can be very different inside than they appear; and I’m learning it goes the other way as well – those that appear to be society’s best are often quite dark inside while those who appear in shambles actually have it together and know what’s important in life. Judgment is such a difficult thing to remove from our systems; it takes continuous effort in all sorts of situations.

    • jannatwrites January 29, 2012 / 5:43 PM

      I think it is disheartening when someone you think is a good, honest person turns out to be the opposite. I’ve encountered this disappointment several times throughout the years with various political candidates.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, SuziCate!

  4. Debbie January 29, 2012 / 1:02 PM

    Estate sales are quite popular where I live, but I’ve never been to one. Somehow, it just seems sad to poke through what’s left behind when a person departs this Earth. True, we have to have a place for all that “stuff,” and I don’t think donating it to charity would pay the deceased’s bills…. But I’d probably run from the BK guy (and clowns, too, haha!)

    • jannatwrites January 29, 2012 / 5:51 PM

      I think the family made quite a bit of money at the estate auction. The baby grand piano alone went for over $3,000, and they had many pieces of furniture that went for several hundred dollars.

      Since I didn’t know the people, it felt like a regular garage sale. The bidding was what I found fun.

      The BK guy is frightening, as are clowns, or anyone wearing a mask, really. Running is a good call, Debbie 🙂

  5. nrhatch January 29, 2012 / 1:10 PM

    Wonderful post! I’m with you about the BK guy . . . CREEPY! (But I love the commercials that feature him . . . it’s like watching a live bobble head doll).

    The first Estate Sale we went to was Bill’s cousin who died young (in her 40’s). Her daughter (in her teens) was moving in with Bill’s Aunt and didn’t need all the furniture, clothes, art, etc. that her mom had accumulated ~ so it was auctioned off.

    We bought a sofa, a loveseat, and a piece of art. The furniture is long gone, but we still have the oil painting of a seagull on an anchor to remind us of Patsy.

    The family was very grateful to everyone who came and participated in the sale . . . relieving them of the burden of STUFF that could never bring Patsy back.

    • jannatwrites January 29, 2012 / 5:53 PM

      I’m not sure why I find the BK guy so creepy, but the Jack in the Box guy is funny!

      That’s a healthy way to look at it, Nancy. Instead of feeling guilty or weird about buying a deceased person’s stuff, we can think about how it helped the family. After all, if they wanted the stuff, it wouldn’t have been up for auction anyway.

  6. jeanne January 30, 2012 / 6:54 AM

    I actually enjoy the excitement of the auction…so long as it moves along quickly.

    • jannatwrites January 30, 2012 / 11:10 PM

      It is exhilarating, Jeanne. I had so much fun that I think I need to save up some money and go again 🙂

  7. Yvonne Root January 30, 2012 / 7:34 AM

    I love estate sales and have had adventures aplenty at them. That aside, I agree with your premise that getting out of our safe zone and dealing with people who are “Not Like Me” is challenging and exciting.

    I’ve learned so much from interacting with people who are extremely different from me. Because I’m a long time Christian I’ve found there are many times when I must distinguish between Christianity and Churchianity. Because I’m comfortable with the basics of what I believe about Jesus and the full life He promises, I’m also (getting) better at accepting and appreciating others who simply don’t look like, sound like or think like me.

    • jannatwrites January 30, 2012 / 11:16 PM

      Churchianity is a unique term I haven’t heard before, Yvonne. I Googled the term to learn more, and I’m not a believer in Churchianity. The Bible gives me what I need to know 🙂 I’m glad you are realizing the adventrue of accepting others that are different. It can be hard sometimes! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Yvonne.

    • jannatwrites January 30, 2012 / 11:18 PM

      I’m not interested in getting body art myself, but I can appreciate the beauty of a nice tattoo 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Stephen!

  8. pattisj January 30, 2012 / 10:10 PM

    I’ve never been to an estate sale, but would like to attend one sometime.

    • jannatwrites January 30, 2012 / 11:21 PM

      You should find one in your area. I’m surprised at how much we both liked it 🙂

  9. sonsothunder February 1, 2012 / 10:44 PM

    Articulate soul searching…love it
    Bless you

    • jannatwrites February 2, 2012 / 8:32 PM

      Thanks for reading and sharing your comment, Paul. I appreciate it!

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