Burning with meaning

My heart broke today for my Dad. He’s such a cool guy. The one that has maintained a mullet my whole life, rode motorbikes, surfed and did fun things with us kids.

Today he told me his shed burnt down. This wasn’t just a small shed. This was the ultimate man cave. In here he worked until all hours of the night falling asleep. All of his mechanical tools, building tools and electrical goods were in here. He entertained, played music, worked on his Firebird, stored his surf boards and sport gear, played the guitar,  didgeridoo and harmonica. This is where he stored all of his precious memories of his 6 kids growing up and his Canadian and Triumph motorcycle memorabilia. It wasn’t long ago he showed me his old box full of photos, poems, pictures and art that he has kept and smiled about fondly.

Now my Dad is the type of guy that makes people laugh. This particular night he met my sisters new boyfriend for the first time and was looking for lipstick to draw on his eyebrows. He found none, so settled for nail polish. He wrapped a scarf around his neck and said in a weird accent, “Hello there young man”. Probably more along the lines of “Peow peow, my fellow folkling, it’s me San De Van Vousan…” Or something weird like that, and was told to go and remove the war paint. 🙂

So up to his shed he went and removed the nail polish with acetone which burnt his face a bit. While he was still holding it he spied a small toy gun which gave a shock when you pulled the trigger. PERFECT he thought!! And gave it a go… causing a spark and his hand to catch fire. In shock, he threw the flaming acetone in his hand… straight into the 10L drum of acetone which caught fire. He fought it with an extinguisher and water but it spread so fast, exploding everything in sight. It was no match for the 3 fire trucks and water tankers.

I have had my place arsened a few years ago and escaped the blaze unscathed with my son, only to be broken into last year. The thief stole all my family heirlooms, guitar, jewellery, make up, ghds, accessories, bags, clothes etc. But the saddest of all were my sons baby teeth and the jewellery he made me when he was little that I actually wore and loved, my guitar (anyone who plays music knows an instrument holds a part of their soul and mine had already been replaced after someone broke my first gat my Nana had got me) and the family memories, medals and antique jewellery that had been passed down to me.

I asked him if he was upset. He replied; “Not to bad, at least no one died. I’m most upset about the photos and sentimental items.” It’s a great reminder for us; Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lat up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. Matthew 6:19-20.

BUT we are human. As human’s it’s hard not to give things meaning. A ring I brought myself after my break up with my son’s father; that meant strength, I did not need a man, I could do it on my own. My guitar, my Nana brought for my birthday was my first introduction to music and held all my memories and experiences of learning and she told me “As long as I have music I will never be lonely”. My necklaces made of pasta and wooden beads were a sign of love and time that my son thought of me even when I wasn’t there. Even text messages we get from people, you will find yourself asking “BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN??” We make EVERYTHING MEAN SOMETHING. THINGS hold MEMORIES.

To loose your belongings and memories is a temporary thing because we all leave here with nothing. But the PAIN is REAL. We hold things valuable to us. Which is funny because it’s all really worthless. The ring.. A piece of metal. It can’t do anything. The macaroni necklace.. Really? Can it be sold to buy me lunch? A photo? It’s a piece of paper. But the FEELING we get from the MEANING we give.

My sister and I hope to recreate the memories and feelings for my Dad this Christmas with old photos, music, drawings and letters from when we were young. We hope to bring humour and perhaps find an old guitar or surf board lying around. We are looking forward to this most about Christmas pending 🙂 I’ve already painted a new pasta necklace with all our names on it.

But this also gave me another thought I’d like to share. If our memories are dependant on the FEELING we get from the MEANING we give. This is POWER. Have you recognised yet that every bad feeling or memory is at the mercy of our emotion? Have you thought about that horrible break up you went through? That time you were so embarrassed or humiliated? When you were really, really sick or hurting? What if we gave that memory a new emotion. What if I gave my break up GRATITUDE? Gratitude for all the children, experiences and a new life path I gained? What if I changed the FEELING and made it positive.

I’d probably be a whole lot happier, less resentful, and therefore let go of any negative energy which will make me healthier in the long run. I still hurt for my Dad because grief and loss are very real and it takes time to work through the process. He’s a very brave and positive man and I’m incredibly upset about the fire and that he had to go through that. I’m also very grateful that he is such a funny guy that he used the nail polish. That’s what makes him who he is and one day he will tell the story of this himself.

Thanks Dad for all the lessons you teach us. Willingly or accidentally. Thank you.

Love you! xx

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