THE BOX

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tumblr_mb0yhmlvIW1qzx5hdo1_500[1]I recently had to move some of my furniture and odds and ends from my brother’s garage to a storage unit. Having dumped it back in March, I wasn’t exactly sure what awaited me.

A couch

A TV cabinet

A dresser

The box

You know, THE BOX. The one you store your ticket stubs, Valentine’s cards, and sweet notes in after a breakup. The place where pictures go from frames, to a stack, and ultimately to their final resting place inside THE BOX. THE BOX gets shoved in the back of the closet where no one, including you, can see it.

As my brother, Matt, carried it over, he took one look at the pink hearts on the outside and asked, “Why not just toss it now?”

I really wanted to. I did. I did not want to take THE BOX with me to my next destination and have been happily free from the person’s face and handwriting lurking inside for some time. But….since I couldn’t remember the exact contents of THE BOX, I thought I needed to go through it. Peering in the lid, I discovered I hadn’t used THE BOX solely for the relics of a bad relationship. In the rush of moving I had thrown in my ihome and a few other random items. Knowing my dad and brother were waiting on me, I figured this wasn’t the time to sort out THE BOX. Isn’t this the kind of thing you do in your bedroom with sad music playing or something?

“Ugh. I’ll deal with it later at home” I told Matt.

Once everything was loaded, I drove my friend Tony’s truck while my dad and Matt followed. I looked to the front passenger seat and saw that someone had put THE BOX up front. Awesome.

“What are you doing here?” I muttered to it. Didn’t THE BOX know it wasn’t meant for the light of day, much less shotgun?

13581236346451970_AYeBCMCI_c[1]We arrived at the storage unit and the guys started unloading while I signed paperwork. Noelle and Kathy, the friendly employees, greeted me with mass amounts of small talk. Eventually one of them asked me why I was storing.

Oh, it’s one of those, is it?

Sabotage conversations. The kind you get sprung on you while trying to do normal things. Ex) doctor’s office: “When did you last have sex? Are you in a relationship?” Verizon Wireless: “Have you heard of our family plan? Isn’t there someone you could sign-up with??”

Why am I storing? Why is my life not together in such a fashion that I don’t need to shove it in some 5×7 unit? Well…given that THE BOX was fresh in my mind I wanted to blame my ex, an unattractive habit that springs up now and again. I blame THE BOX. Vicious cycle.

I figured they didn’t want to hear that. Noelle (male) was wearing a Santa hat and two, not one, but two, earrings with dangling Christmas ornaments. I didn’t want to ruin his jolly mood so I smiled and muttered something along the lines of “guy’s suck.” Kathy loves it. She says it’s their mother’s fault. I love it.

I went upstairs to help with the loading. Once the big stuff was in my dad and brother went downstairs to get the last load. When they came back up I noticed THE BOX was not with them. I wondered how that conversation went down and was glad Matt had to explain my box instead of me.

Finally it was time to return the truck keys and be done. I hopped in the driver’s seat and saw that it was literally just THE BOX and me in the car. I swear it was mocking me.

I got to my friend’s house, parked, and began walking down the street… carrying the damn BOX like a sick present to return the keys. How was something I foolishly thought I could privately hold on to now publicly on display for my friend’s and family to see? I hate THE BOX! I hate THE BOX!

Embarrassed, me and THE BOX rode in the backseat of my dad’s car like five-year-olds to go to lunch. Again, I wondered what my dad thought of my BOX.

111182684522100913_qeQiVzS2_c[1]I was pretty frustrated with myself by the time we reached the restaurant. While my dad ordered, my brother and I sat opposite each other at the table as my tears threatened to spill over. Matt took one look at my face and says, “Forget this. I’m throwing away THAT BOX! You don’t need this.”

Just like that, he jogged to the car, grabbed THE BOX and dumped it. Right there, in the restaurant trash can.
Love guys, so rational.

He had to go back and dig out my ihome, but other than that, I was free.

That stupid BOX. That stupid boy. Why had I held on to either one of those? Matt was right, I didn’t need it. All day I just kept thinking, why didn’t I throw that crap away a year ago?

Was it because I wanted to reminisce? Not particularly. Was it because I was hoping to get back together? Not a chance. Do I care about the items inside? No. So why, then?

The truth is, I was just avoiding the situation. I simply didn’t want to deal with it. Yet, had I just handled my business the first time, THE BOX wouldn’t have haunted my moving day. The whole ordeal would’ve been entirely avoided. Also, my holding on to THE BOX represented what I’d done wrong in the relationship… God, you’re super funny with this whole BOX day…I’m getting the picture. I held on to someone I shouldn’t have because I was afraid you wouldn’t provide someone better.

My friend Katy told me once that every time she’s broken up with someone, she has upgraded while her ex downgraded. I laughed and had to admit she was right about her own life, was unsure it would play out in mine….until it did. The one person I’ve dated since was an absolute upgrade in every way. Why had I doubted?

195484440045040489_UDD8JG1E_c[1]The whole experience has me wondering if there are other places I am doing this in my life.

Where else am I avoiding something I should take care of now?

What things have I convinced myself are private but are actually one situation away from a public debut?

Where am I clinging to less than God’s best for my life out of fear?

These are the places where sin has great opportunity to grow. Things like avoidance, laziness, fear, and a desire to control can hide out and stay around awhile. We don’t notice anything is wrong because they are often wrapped up in small things that aren’t inherently bad, like my BOX. A narrow definition of sin allows us to make deals with ourselves like, “Later. I’m waiting for the right time. It’s not that big of a deal…it’s just a few memories…a small habit… a little too much food…a love of things…a realtionship that needs to end….one that needs to mend….a website….bitterness I can’t let go of…I need to do things my way”

We shove these small items into BOXES in the back of the closet only to end up carrying them around later, often publicly. We make today’s problem tomorrow’s.

It’s fine I still had THE BOX, but it wasn’t good for me and there’s a difference. I don’t want to give past burdens space in next year’s closet. No more carrying around a BOX full of things that weight me down or hold me back or from what God is calling me to. What about you? Do you have a BOX?

This morning I find myself very thankful for God’s grace. My closet is full of this kind of stuff and He is mercifully patient about it. He doesn’t give up on me when I cling and petition to keep items out of fear and distrust. He helps me get better at tossing things out. He’s given me the kind of friends and family that will say, “Forget this! You don’t need it” when I can’t do it for myself.

The instructions of the Lord are perfect reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.
Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever.

The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair.
They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:7-14

**PS I’m accepting dating applications for Matt. Email to Olivemepost@gmail.com.

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25 responses to “THE BOX”

  1. Heidi Andrews says:

    Cindy you are the BEST writer!! I’m hooked! Thank you for the encouragement?! If you need an unofficial proofreader, I would love to read your book! I’m pretty good at that and love to read!! I also love how you wrote this and ended with a devotional/ principled application. Love it ! Love you! You are a beauty to behold!!

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Cece says:

    Ugh. Thank you (said in the smallest ashamed mouse voice). I needed that

  3. Bree says:

    SO SO SO good. I distinctively remember THE BOX popping up when I moved to SLO, that was a VERY interesting moment and I wish my little brother had been there to do some necessary tossing :) Gosh, this is good. Grateful for your brutal honesty and reminder that bringing things into the light is the only way. Always. And I’m thankful for your dad & brother. Still miss you.

  4. Heather says:

    Deep, Cindy, very deep. Thanks for sharing your heart and your insight on this blog. I LOVE reading your thoughts on life, funny stories, inspiring comments, etc, etc, etc. And you WILL meet Mr. Amazing – I know you will because you’re the kind of person that will attract the right guy when he’s ready. In the meantime, keep being who you are as you grow in faith because you’re a great inspiration to many!

  5. E says:

    Oh the BOX! great stuff Cindy! We all have that box…. that one person that holds that tiny space (“box”) in the back of our mind. The fish that slipped away, that we wanted to slip away…and that we didn’t want to slip away. The one we just couldn’t wrap our hands around even if it was to choke the damn thing! 😉

    Thanks for sharing and allowing us all to let go of the box with you as we somewhat let go of our own.

    Trusting in Him more and more as each day passes!
    Hallelujah and Amen
    E

  6. jenni says:

    Funny you mention THE BOX because I just got a text from an ex from high school (whom I am still good friends with) who still has his box from when we dated like 15 years ago, haha. We (old friends) have been digging through memorabilia from a dear friend that past last week:( and he (the ex) texted me a picture of what he called “THE BIN.” I can’t believe he has kept it all these years. I must say I felt a little flattered. I definitely burned his box;) Just shows how we all process things differently and for some keeping THE BIN is OK but I am a burn the box type of gal:) I have to say I felt a little bad for a second when I saw he still had it and I destroyed mine 15 years ago but hey, I have a new and improved box with my upgraded soul mate now. I do agree that if your heart is focused on the Lord you will most definitely be upgraded each time. When dating, I often felt like that was impossible because I didn’t know how good it could get but now I have Tim and wow, what a gift I got!

    • That’s crazy!!! What a coincidence. And you are so right, for some people it wouldn’t be a big deal to keep things like that around. I love that you burned yours! Mark did, too. If there’s a next time for me I’ll have to come up with some cool way of demolishing it.

  7. Alecia says:

    For my part this is your best blog entry thus far! So rich. Love watching you grow as a writer and as a follower of Jesus! I have long categorized people as “keepers” and “savers.” (And most relationships seem to have one of each.) Me, I get rid of everything. Can’t stand clutter. But having clean attics, closets and drawers doesn’t necessarily mean our interior lives are spic and span. We’ve all got some “boxes” we need to clean out or toss. Thanks for reminding me of that.

    • Thank you for saying that, Alecia! This was one of my more nerve-wracking blogs for sure! I feel like this blog has been a complete growing experience in so many ways- as a writer, thinker, reader and reflector. Hopefully people are patient with me as I learn via trial and error! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  8. Becky says:

    Wow Cindy! Amazing what we hold onto right?? I was trying to remember where my box went since I recently moved.. I remembered! I found it as I was packing, and decided to go through it. It was actually good for me! I realized how much ive changed and grown since that relstionship, and how many wonderful people God has put in my life as a result of ending the relationship. I gave up the contents of the box aside from some pictures I gave to my mom.(for the kids to laugh at one day) I am thankful for the God that loves us and allows us to look back and say “Thanks for always having my back!”

    • Thanks for sharing! I wondered if I’d want the pictures years from now just as a funny memory. Giving them to your mom was a perfect idea! Glad your box didn’t haunt you and that you can see God’s hand in the journey. :)

  9. Guys keep boxes too, but there is NO WAY one of us is going to blog about it!

  10. CR says:

    Thank God for brothers! I’m glad he got rid of it for you. I have no idea why we hang on to the past so much but I feel like a lot of people get stuck there. I remember having memorabilia from my first relationship. While I was in and out of that relationship it all meant so much to me and I hung on to it. Then one day something clicked. I made the decision to move forward. Got rid of the junk, took down pictures, and moved on. The weird thing was that I actually moved on. I remember seeing him after some time and I felt nothing but fondness. Like I remembered the fun times we had as friends but beyond that I was completely free of any romantic feelings. I think as humans we seem to think that we can’t change the way we feel. But I disagree. We can choose to move forward and hanging on to a stinky old box is not moving forward. I’m glad you had support that day to help you to do things to move forward. It just goes to show you that your LOVED and SUPPORTED and not everyone can say that. I feel like I need to take you out for a drink and say “Here’s to moving forward!” xoxo

  11. Cindy!!! My favorite part of this blog: “It’s fine I still had THE BOX, but it wasn’t good for me and there’s a difference. I don’t want to give past burdens space in next year’s closet. No more carrying around a BOX full of things that weight me down or hold me back or from what God is calling me to. What about you? Do you have a BOX?”
    It really got me thinking. Our boxes show up in all shapes and forms and in the end, all lead to not trusting God enough to show us a better future. Thanks for the reminder and the cute story which had me chuckling and cringing all at the same time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank goodness for siblings who will take things into their own hands, eh?

  12. Alisa says:

    Matt’s awesome 😉 glad your free of the box now 😉 God is teaching you so much, what a wonderful time in your life! It always seems like in the hard stuff we grow and learn the most . Always enjoy reading

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