I often get reminded that I like to have lots of "stuff."

That "stuff" consists of various "collections" ranging from mementos for the grandkids - each one has their own group of specific items that include dolls, stuffed animals and toys. My own collections are far more extensive - there are CDs, cassettes and record albums; pictures from my mother, of my children and grandchildren, family reunions, pictures of various places I've worked and visited; sewing items, books of all kinds, and a few other odds and ends.

I blame this compulsive collecting on being raised in poverty. Being poor has long-term effects, although most people in my same situation as a child do not have the wide range of collections of which I can boast. It does justify my massive collection of shoes and clothes, it does explain my incessant need to have more and more of everything. It does provide the perfect excuse to continue "collecting," even though that characteristic has been the source of agitation, discussions and arguments over the years.

It has been commonplace to have the expression "You can't take it with you" thrown out at me by more than one person over the years. It has been frequently quoted that I should "have a big bonfire" or "take all that to Goodwill." The problem that has arisen uncountable times, however, is within a few weeks of ridding myself of some of my "stuff," I've needed that item within a few weeks. With those incidents occurring repeatedly, the terms indicating that disposal of my collections translate into "fighting words" until I can find it in my heart to part with said items.

But the saying is indeed so true.

We really aren't going to take any material items with us when we leave this world. It is a guarantee that each one of us born into this world will someday leave this world - unless we remain here when the final days of the world is subjected to the total wrath of God that is predicted throughout the Bible.

It will be totally irrelevant of how much money we have, how large or small our home may be, or how many possessions or property we own. None of those things will hold any value when it comes to our time to answer for our life on Earth.

What will matter, according to what I've been taught to believe, is how we lived our life and how we treated others. Those simple kind deeds or words that helped someone along the way can leave a lasting impression - and hopefully a positive one - on those we encounter on a regular or even a random basis. That spirit of love and concern - or lack thereof - is the legacy that each of us will leave behind for family and friends to remember.

There has only been one perfect being that walked the Earth. Even He left this world without any material possessions. In fact, it is taught that his clothes were used for a gambling and betting event prior to his Crucifixion.

I've witnessed so many families who are at odds with each other over property or money or possessions. Some even stop interacting with one another over disputes over material goods or property settlements. It is truly a shame when families fall apart over a piece of property or an inheritance of money or possessions.

While most parents want to share their accumulation of their life's valuables with their children, grandchildren or other friends and family, we should all remember that the most important gift we can leave behind is precious memories showing love and humility and respect for others.

We truly aren't going to take anything with us when we leave this world.

All we can hope for is that our heart is humble and honest and that our life has reflected the goodness that was shown by God's own Son. That is a message that each of us should take to heart and cherish every single day, for we have no warning on when our own last day may be.

We should be less concerned with what we accumulate in material goods and more concerned with what we leave behind - the message of what our lives have meant to others.

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