Several months ago my husband and I drove four hours south to beautiful Virginia Key Beach to attend an art and music festival. Upon arrival, I found myself connecting with someone new. We quickly began discussing our passions and she told me that she was a Live Big and Small reader and it was making a difference in her life. She was moved by my story and inspired by my message. I was beaming with pride. We spent a long time talking and sharing our stories and I found her fascinating. She had taken her simplifying much further than I had and loved the results. I went to sleep that night knowing that I had met a new forever friend.
The next day I heard that there was an accident and my new friend’s camper caught on fire and everything was lost. I found out that it was filled with almost everything she owned, comfortably decorated for living and travel. As I approached to see how she was doing I did not see what I expected to see at all. Nobody was running around frantically angrily cursing. Nobody was even sad! What I found was my friend and her boyfriend smiling and celebrating that the break light on the trailer was fixed so that they could get the camper home safely. I was unexpectedly met with a huge hug and a thank-you for helping her deal with this experience. We held each other and I cried and she said amazing things into my ear. She told me that people are much more important than things. She told me how this experience has brought her closer to her partner and to her community as they all came together to offer support, camping gear and love. She was so calm, kind and together. She was so grateful that nobody was hurt. She had lost so many of her belongings – she had already done her downsizing and all of her favorite things were there in her camper and it was all gone. They managed to save their camera, which is great because her boyfriend is a photographer. I told her that I was so impressed with her attitude. I can’t imagine having no negativity through something so difficult. Then her boyfriend came over and they told me their plans. They were going to buy a boat. They were taking something that could have been a tragedy and turned it into an opportunity.
As much as my new friend said that I had helped her, she is the one who has helped me more than she could ever know. I am going to remember to think of her demeanor the next time I face something unpleasant. I am never going to forget her grace in her time of loss. I have always chosen what I was going to give away. I can’t imagine watching it all go up in a burst of flames.
My journey so far has been incredible. Realizing that simplicity is a stepping stone to a happy, meaningful, stress(less) and carefree life full of love and experience has been an incredible discovery. The more that goes, the better it gets. And my friend is right. People are far more important than all the things!