Legacy Arts | Issue 13 | January 2018

Page 34

If Your House WAS ON FIRE I By Sheri Kohlmann

f your house was on fire and you had five minutes to grab the items you value most, what would you save? This hypothetical question became a reality for me and thousands of others this October as California wildfires swept through our neighborhoods, giving us little or no time to react. As the hot orange sky swirled with ash and soot, overhead a helicopter circled, declaring, “This is a mandatory evacuation. All residents must leave now!” A lifetime of accumulating possessions, and a few moments to decide what is worth saving, and what is not. I always said that if my house was on fire, the first thing I would grab would be my mother’s family history book published in 1929 in Arkansas. This little book, which is now worn and tattered, is one of my most treasured possessions. In this book, I learned about those that came before me: the people, the faith, the values that made me who I am and determined my place in history. They didn’t leave me any money or possessions but something worth much more–a rich family heritage and legacy. So, I grabbed my family history book, my dog, and my computer. The rest could burn.

When It Really Matters

When faced with a split-second decision of “What is truly important?” our thoughts turn from stuff to significance. Our hearts turn to values, not valuables.

For years, I worked as a paralegal at a Southern California estate planning law firm. I worked closely with families to help them create a financial legacy. No matter the size of their estate, they all wanted to ensure that their hard work and legacy would continue after their time on this earth. Our clients expressed relief when their estate plan was signed and in place.

34 LEGACY ARTS Issue 13 www.paragonroad.