The house was burning down, and I had to get the kids out. I rushed to their rooms and woke them up. As I helped them out of their beds hastily, I wondered what I should take with me. Not one thing came to mind. I could only think about leaving the hot room. We ran down the stairs and escaped the house in our pajamas and bare feet. We left all our belongings behind.
   The fire devoure every single thing I ever had.
   I do not miss what I thought I would miss. I never cried over the jewelry, the cash, the clothes. I don’t even miss the pictures; friends have supplied a few copies for me, and those are a good enough record of my children’s childhood. I transported my wedding gown all the way from Europe and stored it safely in the back of my cedar closet for whenever my daughter would want to see it. It took me at least three months to realize it was forever gone.
   I do miss my husband’s love letters from when we were courting, and the journals I wrote as a teenager. I cried over my lost pregnancy journal, a long letter written to my unborn son, describing in details my wonders at his life within me. Yet to be perfectly honest, these are only fleeting longings for what I cannot have and therefore want.
   The fire gave me so much more than it took from me. It gave me the treasured revelation that things are just things, no matter how precious they may be to us at different seasons of life. I used to think that they somehow represented who I am. But who I am comes from within, not from without. I can always find new ways to express who I am.
   I take who I am with me wherever I go. I never lost me in the fire. Actually, the real me emerged after all of the things were cut off from it, and I become more me.

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