Sentimental Beings

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As part of my internship, it was my turn to write the blog post for this week. I found a lot of difficulty transmitting my thoughts into words and unto this document. Partly, it was because my thoughts were scattered all around. I had a basic idea of what I wanted to write about, but this gets me to the greater reason of why I couldn’t bring myself to write this story well enough. I am going to talk about something that means a lot to me, and the fear of not doing it justice was stopping me from expressing myself.

For those who know me well enough know I’m a very sentimental person. I find the past romantically beautiful. Vintage cars, typewriters, and old jazz music make the perfect scene in my humble opinion. There’s a sense of simplicity and magic to the past. Some stories contain legendary actions, historical events that will always be remembered by everyone who takes history in high school, but what about the minor past events? It can be understood when monuments like the Eiffel tower are preserved and taken care of, but can it also be justified when a 60 year-old ring that belonged to the family is still being passed down?

My grandpa gave the ring to my grandma when she turned 20, almost 65 years ago. A few years back she gave that ring to me, and I have never loved something as much. I remember thinking about all the places she could have worn this to, and all the events it was present on. There came a time where I wouldn’t take it off in fear that id lose it. I had developed this relationship with an object that to many jewelers was probably worthless, but to me was priceless. The ring became a part of me, and accompanied me on many events in my life. From graduation, to traveling, even to my start of university I had it on. One day it fell from me and broke in two pieces. I thought it was silly of me to get this sad because the ring was fixable, but I had a rush of fear pass through me that I couldn’t help but panic. How sentimental must one be in order feel a loss when losing an object?

Thomas Huxley once said: “The world is neither wise nor just, but it makes up for all its folly and injustice by being damnably sentimental.” This led me to think of the romantically sentimental people I know, and might be one of. Loving the people around us isn’t enough; we need to love the things that surround us as well. Being scared of losing people isn’t the only thing we’re scared of, but we’re also scared of losing the thing that means a lot to us. The fear of losing that object adds to its value, in my opinion. If my grandma’s ring was unbreakable, if it could stand the test of time, its sentimental value to me would be less. But the fact that it’s so fragile, full of memories and meanings makes it more valuable to me. The fact that the objects stem from mortal people, transforms them to symbols of their immortality.

To those of you that may think of me as materialistic, and think being attached to a thing doesn’t make sense, I am not attached to the material aspect of the ring, but rather to the sentimental value it holds.

It’s quite simple yet complicated, sad but romantic, how one could love a thing so much. I believe love is the right word to use in this case. I would call it love, when I decide to wear my grandma’s ring every day in fear that if anything were to happen at least I’d have it with me. That the tears I’ve seen people cry when they visited their hometowns after years of being away, were tears of longing and again, tears of love. When my friend says the only thing she felt a loss for after the war tore down her house in Lebanon were the burnt photo albums, and not her things or house.

It’s the reason I find it hard to leave a place, or finish a book, it’s also the reason I collect coins. I believe that cherishing the sentimental value of objects, while it may be hard, is a great way to appreciate not only the past but also the meaning of the situation the object holds to you. Some people say being sentimental makes you weak in such a cruel world, but actually being sentimental makes you deep in such a shallow ever-changing world.

By Natalie Rafeh, Regional Intern at World Youth Alliance-Middle East