Gratitude for Boxes {30 Days of Gratitude, In the Middle, FOR the Middle}

One thing for sure characterizes mid-life:  unresolved issues.  The ability to have presence and poise in the midst of the unresolved problems requires a few sturdy boxes.

I'll explain that.

2 Corinthians 4:8 says, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair..."

2 Corinthians 6:10 takes it even further, "...(we are) sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything..."

In short, every believer in Christ has to learn to coexist with the unresolved - with patience and grace and even (dare I say) joy.  The alternative means that we will only be truly happy when everything is practically nearly perfect.  Even the so-called simple questions rarely have instant answers.  We will be continually confronted with that which is less-than-ideal in life - and sometimes, the less-than-ideal situation can become very, very serious and complicated.  

The only way to get past mere coexisting with the Unresolved - the only way to truly live and thrive in spite of the Unresolved, is to learn to box it up.  Box it all up - large and small.  Put the big stuff into a big box, and put the little stuff into a little box.

Middle-messes must have boxes to keep them from migrating into all areas of your life.  Boxing up an issue means emotionally isolating and containing it, so that it does not negatively affect other precious parts of life.  For example:  one can experience deep disappointment in a prodigal child, without allowing the grief of it to make them lash out at a friend or leave their church or get a divorce.  

A few good sturdy boxes will insure that when three or thirty things are going wildly wrong, those things will not contaminate the one hundred things that are going right.

It's an art.  Boxing things up is a learned skill that becomes an art form.  It can sometimes be the only thing that creates beauty and order, when all of life seems chaos.

I remember, not that long ago, talking to the Preacher.  The conversation was beyond casual.  We were in his truck, headed to Costco for grandbaby snacks and birdseed.  Nothing profound was being said.  Though I should have been able, by then, to have discussed the subject casually,  the topic had a  painful and sensitive background.  I thought I was past a lot of the pain.  Nevertheless...tears, unexpected and unbidden, began to seep from my eyes.  Looking back, I think it was just one of those days.

My Preacher looked at me, truly compassionately, and said, "You need to get in the presence of God and let Him help you get to the bottom of where all this is coming from."  

My answer to him was just this:  "No.  No, I don't.  I need to put all this back in the box, close it up, and write on the box, "GOD KNOWETH".  I don't need to examine and process this.  I need to give it to God - and give it to Him radically.  Someday, I will be able to get this box off the shelf, open it, and I will find that what is in it no longer hurts."

So yeah.  I would make a horrible therapist.  But I can tell you - this is the only thing I can do that actually does require a true faith-response from me.   For me, a capable and compulsive fixer, a mother, a problem-solver...boxing it all up takes audacious faith.  Therefore, it pleases God.  I know it does.

Boxing up your crap may not work for you.  But it works wonders for me.  I believe God is at work on those boxes of mine, bringing healing and freedom and blessing on levels unconscious to me.  I don't have to tend to those unresolved emotions.  I don't have to dissect them or even understand them.  I can simply box them up and let God have them.  Inner healing can happen in those boxes, while I am making art and grilling chicken and loving on grandchildren.  I believe that.

I am grateful for boxes.  They enable me to live my life as a cohesive whole, when otherwise I would be obsessing over some nagging piece of unresolved dilemma.  I can stop thinking about the unresolved parts, and read a book or take a walk or make love or laugh and be happy.  Sometimes boxing up our crap is the only responsible thing to do - the only thing that gives us emotional availability to our lives, and those we love.

Say it with me:  boxes are good.  Boxes are necessary.  Thank you, God, for boxes.

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