Unpacking the “Boxes”

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. 

10 thoughts on “Unpacking the “Boxes”

  • I just finished reading “The Smell of Turkey Cooking” and am so grateful that you not only have these fond memories but that you are able to put them in print for others to share. When given the opportunity, I love reminiscing about growing up on the farm in Iowa. Thanks for sharing those precious moments with your grandparents and family. Linda

    Liked by 2 people

  • Not a silly comparison at all.. When feelings are shattered, no matter how well we recover or great new things or people happen, there is always a crack and chip missing from a past event.. That’s because we possess memory.. Fond memories and tragic memories, we always remember how we felt at that time.. Our healing is the glue that puts the pieces of shattered feelings, back together again.. And we hope we never shatter as completely as Humpty Dumpty..

    Liked by 1 person

  • Speaking of gifts, I very much enjoy your gift of finding or creating the perfect picture to represent the post.. I find myself,
    taking a fresh look, or two, at the pictures after I’ve read the post.. And the pictures are richer the second time around..
    What I haven’t found, is the right words to describe you and your blog.. And that’s a bit frustrating..
    You see, everyone that I put on the award page has descriptions of how their blog moves me, my words are off the cuff and just spill out..
    But you are different.. I think its because I knew you would be a link there, but I hadn’t read much yet.. Which is why I’m focusing more reading on your blog.. So when the inspiration comes flowing out, it will be just right..

    Liked by 1 person

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