Sunday, June 24, 2012

Packing Boxes

My world has been spinning lately.  So much to do and so little time to do it in.

Last visits here and there.
Last times spent with ones we call dear.
Last moments to look and really see what is around me.

We have been spending a lot of time purging and packing of late.  We work ahead so we don't feel overwhelmed with stress and panic at the end.  Mike knows me, and knows this is how it must be to keep me together.

Scrubbing ovens, wiping out kitchen cupboards, and packing boxes gives you time and space to think.  I need that time and space right now.

As I was wiping out two years of crumbs and dust from the cupboards today, I thought of how easy moving would be if you didn't have people to say goodbye to.  If all it meant was throwing your stuff into boxes and taping them shut, I wouldn't think twice about making my way around the continent every few years.

But the people are what make it painful and messy and bittersweet.  You can't stuff your raw emotions into a box and tape it shut.  You could try, but the tape wouldn't hold for long.

It would also be easy to pack if all you had were things that had no value.
I'm not talking about things of great expense.  I have no valuable jewelery or fine crystal to wrap and put into boxes.  We don't need any extra insurance for all of our silver and gold because we don't have any.

I'm talking about photographs of our girls that Mike has taken that show exactly who they are.  Cards and letters and notes from friends that say words that brought us life.  Paper mache' and modpodge creations that could break and bend if not packed just so.  A binder full of loose paper with recipes scrawled on the backs of envelopes that don't even fit into the rings.  Books with  broken spines and dog-eared pages that tell my story with underlined words and circled paragraphs.

How do you pack memories into a box?

How do you tell a teacher your daughter has had for two years that she will never be forgotten because she deposited worth and value into one you love more than life?

How do you thank families who opened their door and made room for you at their table and then served you up some of the finest offerings of authentic relationship you've ever tasted?

How do you capture the special relationship between your middle one and her friend with special needs in words or a picture?

How can you take your baby's first time skipping "one" on the monkey bars and the look and glimmer in her eye with you?

How can you mend the broken heart of your daughter's 8 year old best friend who hugs her fiercely and hangs on for dear life because she doesn't want to let her go?

You can't.
I can't.

And so I'm going through a process this week of honoring it all in whatever way I can....

A moment of silence.
Verbal expression.
A long and lingering hug.
Words on a page.
Soggy kleenex.
Listening to a song.
Buying a gift.
Prayers of thanks offered up.

To tell you the truth, they don't seem like enough.
They take the edge off and buy me the mental room to move on.
But I don't think there will ever be sufficient closure enough to tape the box shut.
I don't think I am meant to.

I guess I'll end up taking a box home with me that's ragged and worn and falling apart.
I have to be ok with that.
Even if I didn't put it in the moving truck myself, I suspect it would find its own way in.

It's heavy.
It's full.
It's beautiful, rough, and worn all at the same time.
I don't like the way it feels right now.
It's painful to lift.
But I know I have to.

That's how it has to be.

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