There are lots of ways to think about this and lots of ways to express it. “What’s important to you,” or “What would you save from a fire,” or “what would you have to have on a desert island?”
But I like the way Anna and Declan talk about it in Leap Year, a cute little movie my girls call “The Dumplin Movie” because I told them once it’s set in “Dublin” and they misheard me…so yeah. Dumplin.
Declan (character played by Matthew Goode) claims Anna (played by Amy Adams) doesn’t know what’s important to her, doesn’t understand the difference between what really matters and what is dumb. He’s from a small Irish town, she’s from Boston. You get the picture.
He thinks her priorities are out of line, so rather than just telling her that, he asks her:
If your house was on fire, and you had sixty seconds, what would you take?
It’s an interesting way to evaluate life, people, our reality. It’s an interesting question to pose, and of course, to think about on your own. You have one minute, one brief, hurried minute to grasp the things (let’s assume all people are safe) that matter. In one minute, you can’t take it all, you can’t even carry most of it.
This question reminds us how much we actually have, and how the small things we’d grab are still there. We might have lost some freedoms, some independence, some peace of mind and some future hopes. But the things that mean something to you, that are behind price and measure? You still have them. They are not lost.
For me, it would be a small mirror my maternal grandmother gave me, earrings from Steve on our wedding day and a fragile blue rosary I’ve prayed with for a long time. My babies and my sorrows and my husband and my happiness are all in those beads. I couldn’t part with it. These things, if my house was on fire, would be what I’d take.
For you. What would it be?