Ever notice how feelings can be like glass and porcelain collectables?
That probably sounds like a silly comparison, but last year I learned a pretty big lesson that opened my eyes to it.
Five days before last Christmas, it was a quiet Saturday afternoon. Then, I heard sirens. The course of that entire day changed many things, as our neighbor’s house burned down.
It’s hard to imagine what a devastating sight that is. Despite valiant efforts of the volunteer firemen in freezing temperatures, it was beyond saving. All the neighbors gathered around as a gesture of support.
I can’t begin to tell you how hard it was to think about leaving someone who lost their house, to go home to my house that was still standing and filled with light, so I didn’t. I stayed there with them until they left.
The house smoldered for days. Every time I looked out our window, I saw it. Each day that followed, the sky was dark gray and the moods were sullen.
Finally, on Christmas morning, five days later, the sun came out. Man, that was a glorious day. The rubble stopped smoldering and moods were lifted. The community supported the family and their Christmas was saved.
In the months that followed, I did a lot of thinking about “stuff”. My china cabinet was full of books, and my glass treasures were nowhere to be seen. All of my family heirlooms, dishes from my grandmothers, childhood gifts from my parents, and gifts from friends, were packed away safely in boxes.
It’s funny how we pack things away to save them from being broken. One night, I dragged those boxes out and started unpacking. I moved all those books to a different room and started filling those china cabinet shelves with the beautiful breakables of my life.
It was in those moments, that I realized it’s easy to “pack up” our feelings to keep them safe and unbroken. If we’ve been hurt at some point, it seems completely logical to pack faith and trust away where it can’t be broken or doubted. But is that really living?
That fire was a reminder of how things can change in a split second. What good were all my heirlooms doing me by being packed away? I sure can’t see them if they’re boxed up in a closet. And, sure, hurt feelings certainly justify living with a protected heart, but what do we miss out on by doing so?
I’m happy to say that every glass and porcelain keepsake I have is unpacked and I see them every day. And, the feelings? Definitely a work in progress. They say that out of ashes, come new gifts. After last Christmas, I’m pretty sure there’s some truth in that.
Here’s to unpacking all of the “boxes”, literal and heartfelt. Maybe it is in those moments, that living truly shines.