Love is Our Greatest Possession

Dear Reader:

What many Floridians are discovering in the grief and overwhelming sense of loss in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian… is that …if all their loved ones survived the monster hurricane… and the damage and destruction involved only man made possessions-buildings, property, vehicles, etc- these possessions can be replaced, rebuilt-loss of life can’t…

And hopefully what many Floridians are also experiencing is hope in the form of neighbors helping each other, electricians and builders from all across America pulling into Florida in caravans, along with many church food supplies and thousands of helping hands. Love.

Sarah Ban Breathnach ( Simple Abundance) retells an historical tragedy that I taught while teaching the Westward Movement. Behind the horror of the famous Donner Party tragedy lies lessons in courage, perseverance and yes…love.

” In July 1846 Margaret Reed reluctantly left her beloved home in Springfield, Illinois, with her husband James, their four children, and her ailing mother and set off for California. Margaret had stubbornly resisted the idea for months, begging him not to abandon their charmed life of comfort and culture. But James sought even more wealth ( wealthy furniture manufacturer), and adventure-he prevailed.”

He did keep his promise to her to build the most luxurious covered wagon ever made ( two stories high, sleeping loft, spring seats, iron stove, velvet curtains, and her cherished organ… along with all her prized personal possessions.) It was stocked with six months of the best food and wine money could buy.

Twenty-five hundred miles from home and only two days from safety-thirty-one men, women, and children were stranded for an entire winter in the Sierra Nevada Mountains by a succession of the worst blizzards on record. The wagon was too big and heavy for the mountains and had to be abandoned along the way.

Out of provisions entirely…some members resulted to cannibalism. But Margaret, all alone, prevailed. (Husband James had left with a search party to get to California to get help.) Margaret kept her children alive on snow, bark, and leather broth. ” But the REAL possessions that saved Margaret and those she loved were of Spirither wits, her faith, and her courage.”

Donner Memorial Park and Donner Lake Today

It was said when the Reeds did build a home Margaret surrounded herself with only objects she loved.. she had learned what she could live without and loved the feeling of lightness. Even the possessions she kept were eyed differently-with a certain detachment. If gone tomorrow… so be it. She had her family.

So until tomorrow… May we be remembered as being … by love possessed.

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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1 Response to Love is Our Greatest Possession

  1. Rachel Edwards says:


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