Marvia and I run in the same circles and have a lot of the same friends. Recently, however, I've enjoyed getting to know her better as part of a more intimate online writing group. Her words are encouraging, but she is unafraid of lament. I trust her to tell me the truth.
I hope that this beautiful piece meets you were you are, as it did me.
I’ve lived a life in boxes, so many boxes. Small, medium, large. New, dented, old, or torn. It didn’t matter what size. I have lived life in every single one. Boxes hold things, keep things, protect things, and even hide things. I have found boxes of things I forgot owned – things that were once treasures. There have been several instances where boxes held my forgetting. There have been boxes that held my awaited-for dreams. In all my moving, boxes have held the heavy pauses of my life.
I recently moved. While some people find moving exciting, I do not. It’s rather frustrating to have to pack, wrap, carefully place, and tape things up. You never realize how much stuff you have until you move. All of a sudden you see yourself as some kind of hoarder in need of an intervention. The last move I made was a matter of unexpected and unintended consequence. I was grateful to have had a place to land with family. All my life was abruptly packed, wrapped, put away, and stored in the darkness of a garage. That was over two years ago. It wasn’t until I began the tedious process of unpacking the boxes that I realized how full my life had been. Maybe it can be full again. How does one remember the fullness of a life if it’s tucked away in cardboard? I remembered how I was no longer physically holding space for all the many things I wanted, owned, needed, or cherished. Moving sometimes does that to you.
Right now I find myself surrounded by boxes. Boxes upon boxes taped, tattered, frizzled, and bruised. There are boxes of things that have been hidden away for years. There are boxes that have traveled with me across the state over years and completely forgotten. To open each box now, is to remember what I no longer use, no longer need, or no longer fit. Moving has a way of nudging us to evaluate life.
I cannot allow the taped up boxes to keep me from getting settled, so I unpack. Sometimes opening up the boxes is like finding hidden treasures. I squeal with childlike delight because each box might hold gifts I forgot I had. But then there are other boxes I open and immediately close because they hurt. They remind me of lost dreams, lost careers, withered relationships, worn love, broken hopes, and forlorn wishes. What am I supposed to do with those boxes that remind me of painful memories? Burn them up? Put them in storage? Pretend they don’t exist? I wish that I could. Could I put them away for safe keeping? No, that might cause my wounds to fester. What then do I do?
I take a deep breath, steel myself, and slowly open up the boxes of might-have-beens, should-haves, could-haves, and never-happeneds. I look at all the contents in the face. I try not to wince, flinching from the sting of remembering. I acknowledge the wreckage from a wish unfulfilled, of a dream that died, or hope that wasted away. Moving has a way of bringing us face to face with things we’ve tried to ignore, things we’ve tucked into boxes we never wish to open again.
Let me be real with you, facing the pain in our own hearts can be a challenging experience. But today, as I unpack one more box among the many still remaining, I think about how facing my hurt empowers me to choose again – to believe again, hope again, love again, and to dream again. It feels like getting a second chance, and maybe I need it in that moment. I need the grace of the unkind moments so I can see how far I’ve come. I need to look my sorrows in the eye. I need to face the giants of my past until they become miniscule wisps of unthreatening air. Every box reminds me of something I’ve held. It hasn’t all been a total loss. I see the reigniting of life happening as I dig in and get more comfortable with my own discomfort. My heart is settling as I put my life back into order. Still, I ponder how moving sometimes shakes us up, but it also settles us down.
I think of boxes as holders of pause. So in the unpacking of my life, I find the deepest dreams still live and breathe. They are returning to my heart. Somehow physically seeing them strewn across my living room floor has birthed hope again in my heart. I’m going need every ounce I can get, until I can rise from the rubble of boxes refreshed, renewed, and made whole again. Isn’t that just like moving? It is unexpected adventure. It as invitation to remember to live again.
Marvia lives, writes, and loves in the heart of Texas. She is all about writing, pondering, creating, dreaming, walking, and lie-smashing through the rockity-bumpity journey of life. You can find her sipping tea, drinking coffee, splattered with sugar and flour dust while baking with family, laughing, snorting loudly, or dancing ridiculously just because.
Join her at marviadavidson.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @MarviaDavidson and Instagram @MarviaDavidson.