I went shopping for false eyelashes today. I could only smile as the person at the register looked at me closely as I paid for them. She was probably wondering who they were for since I obviously wasn’t wearing makeup. She laughed when I told her I was buying them for a little pig.

As I was glueing them on the piggy bank, I remembered a conversation with friends not too long ago. Someone asked if you had to leave your home quickly, what would you take with you? Most in the group said photos, pets. I said photos, my grandmother’s earrings, Mom’s necklace and the little piggy.

I know that they are just things and though I’ve been working to live simply and without excess, I think some things still matter.

Last year I led a group through an experiment based on the book ‘7 – An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess’ by Jen Hatmaker. In the book, the author chose 7 things to do for a month. One month it was eating only 7 foods. Another month she selected 7 pieces of clothing with some exceptions. My group decided to try this, doing each thing for one week instead of one month. One week we selected 7 things each day to give away. I considered giving away many things but not piggy. I don’t use her to put money in. She’s lost the eyelashes she came with and many of the little fake diamonds as well, but she is still the gift my brother William bought for me with his first paycheck when he was 13 and I turned 12. There have been many milestones for both of us since then, but piggy still sits on my dresser until someone needs her more than I do. For now she is simply full of memories.

Recently I read an article that explored things that matter. That maybe it isn’t just that we live with excess but also that we don’t seem to know that some things matter. That we should not be so quick to throw something away just because it isn’t new, or not in fashion. I think there needs to be a balance. Maybe we can do with less but also care for the things we do have, particularly those that may not have a function but have meaning for us, that may have been a special gift, until it is time to pass them along to someone else.

If you’d like to read the story mentioned you can read it here: http://www.dailygood.org/story/746/beauty-and-the-dumpster-meredith-sabini/

The story resonated with me because having worked in nursing homes, I found that often residents would have to choose what things they could keep in the amount of room they had. It often meant choosing just a few things from a house full of items. And often no family member wanted these things. If they allowed me to do so, I’d take unwanted items to organizations that could use them rather than have them go in the trash. Occasionally I would be able to make a pillow or other item for the resident with fabric from an item that had special meaning to them, that object that carried a memory.

So, here is a photo of my piggy who after all these years still doesn’t have a name other than ‘my piggy’. My brother and I celebrate our birthdays this month and that means piggy will also have a birthday. She came to me with big eyelashes and now she’ll be sporting her new eyelashes bought simply so I can take a photo of her and send it to my brother who somehow didn’t know I’d kept her all these years.