Our home has been been forged in memories, tears, laughter, sorrow, hope…and yes, even heartache. My load is heavy tonight, the sorrow is in every exhale. I hold the box too heavy to bear, and I shove it to the darkest corner that I can find. This is how I feel. My muscles ache from the load, but my arms are alive with the pain.
I shut the door to the closet I hate, the place I wish to tear from the house, but it’s the room that has to stay. I find more hard things to box up and put away. I cram, I shove, I stuff…I hide it all from view.
The closet door shuts again.
And it opens.
And it shuts.
Again and again and again.
He walks into the room, strong and yet vulnerable. He opens the closet door, this wretched room that has to stay, and all my boxes are pushed up against the doorway. I had no idea how much I had stuffed away. And I am so weary, so tired.
He pushes the door wide open, and he carries each box into the glaring light, into the place I never wanted it to be. He gently sets each box on the floor. And he goes back for more.
Box after box
Everything I didn’t want to feel, all I didn’t want to see again..all I couldn’t carry begins to crowd my aching body. There is no way out. How is this an act of love? This bringing into the light all I hate, all that I grieve, all that I want to disappear! How is this love?
And still there are more boxes to bring into the open. I do not try to stop him. Is it a day or only a minute that passes? They are one in the same. Every box is packed full of emotions, fears, and insecurities. The boxes feel numberless and this crushes me.
How is this an act of love?
Why bring these things into the light?
With the last box placed gently in the only space left to fill, my shoulders hunch forward. This is darkness! This is humanity! These are the scars I’ve picked at, discarded, let bleed and heal wrong, then opened up again. This is ugly!
And yet he stays.
He walks over the wall of boxes, and sits close to me. His arms fall around my hunched shoulders. And I can finally see the act of love. Even with every tangled up, gnarled, and crippled piece of my heart, he is choosing me again and again—
Even though I want to ignore these boxes, he’s saying no, they need the light & I’ll stay right here while you sort them out.
In the middle of all I tried to hold on my own, in the place I never wanted to be, surrounded by a world I could no longer ignore…I finally feel safe. Safe enough to keep all my moldy boxes in the light. Safe enough to move forward. Safe enough to check one last time for any missing boxes that need brought into the light.
But I feel tentative.
What kind of mess did my boxes leave behind? What kind of emptiness waits for me now? Am I brave enough to walk into the confines of that closet? It’s the place I’ve kept all the bleeding pieces of me. Suddenly, I realize that if all my boxes will be in the wide-open light, then we will have no use for the closet anymore. How I hope we can forget this extra room!
But then, I look inside.
And I see life.
Life I tried to flatten by only tending to my fear-filled boxes. Life I tried to ignore while I strained beneath the weight of hard things. Life I couldn’t remember, because I was tired and discouraged. Life smashed under bleeding boxes of wounds. Life that could not be snuffed out no matter how many boxes I shoved in its way.
I had forgotten the life I had. Life so vibrant that not even the dark, bleeding boxes could crush it. Life so big the walls could barely contain it! Life so full it had to cram in the closet, because it was the only extra room in the house.
A Note for you:
I wrote this for my husband who continues to choose me no matter what is going on in my heart. I wrote this for all the times I stack up the hard things high and foreboding, for all the times those same things topple to the ground and I find the closet again…which is always and will always be full of abundant life no matter how I lost or forgetful I become.
Life with God always seems to need an extra room for its abundant overflowing. Hard, healing things will always be a part of the equation, but if we just bring those things into the light & remember the life we already have…then there will be tears of joy & forever reasons to rejoice!