Kodiak Daily Mirror - Another Day in Paradise Storing our treasures
Another Day in Paradise: Storing our treasures
by Major John Quinn
May 31, 2013 | 33 views | 0 0 comments | 122 122 recommendations | email to a friend | print
One of the great things about being a Salvation Army Officer is that when you move, there is a place waiting for you. You don’t have to worry about finding housing, you don’t have to worry about packing up furniture when you leave your last post, all you have to do is pack up your few personal belongings and give your current home a good scrubbing, so that the next officers find a place clean, ready, and waiting when they arrive.

That works well in theory. Sometimes, theory and reality are vastly different.

We have spent the past two weeks looking for a place in our next appointment, then doing the paperwork for our headquarters, so that they can send it through our paperwork maze process to purchase a place. At the same time, we are packing our “few” personal belongings, which I am sure would not fit in the back of a 26 foot U-Haul truck. I am sure that somewhere back in my family lineage is a packrat.

Six months before I retired from the Marine Corps, our house burned down. My wife and I, our two sons, and our two dogs got out. Everything else was lost. At the time, I told everyone that God knew that I was a packrat, so He was just clearing the table of the things that were not important. I am grateful that He is not purging our belongings with fire again, and I treasure the “stuff” that we have, mostly memory triggers of wonderful places and wonderful people who have been such great blessings in our lives. However, I know that it is just “stuff”.

Back in the mid-90’s, I was one of the many Salvation Army Officers who traveled to Grand Forks, N.D. to assist that community as it dealt with the results of a major flood. The Red River had overflowed its banks and you could canoe through most of the streets in town.

Almost 90 percent of the homes on both sides of the river suffered from flood damage. Many of the homes and businesses close to the banks had to be demolished.

I was part of the second shift of people who went in for two weeks at a time to help. I can still vividly remember seeing the entire community that had returned to their homes, and had pulled the flood-damaged furnishings from their homes and stacked it at the curb for pickup. Those “stacks” were 12 to 15 feet high along every street. They were loaded out by heavy equipment and hauled to a landfill site via dump trucks. Alongside one home that was going to be demolished, the owners had taken a piece of plywood and spray-painted these words from Matthew 6:19: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.”

As we are packing and preparing for this move, I have been taking many “memory trips”, but I know that there are only three things that really matter: my faith and trust in the Most High God, my family (which includes our four-footed members), and the many friends we have, both old and new. These all reside in our hearts, and in our hearts they will always stay.

Maj. John Quinn is head of the Salvation Army in Kodiak. He writes a weekly column on religion for the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Past columns can be found online at www.kodiakdailymirror.com.

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