In a Box

I may have an addiction.  I simply love Back to School time.  I don’t love the crazy schedule and trying to get everyone off their summer sleep patterns and back into the groove of things.  But I LOVE shopping for school because we get to buy all these cool supplies that are intended to help keep you organized throughout the school year.  We all know by Halloween, all those good intentions go out the window, but that doesn’t diminish the joy I get picking out pencil boxes and matching folders for my kids to take to school.  It was especially fun this year as my oldest starts college.  So there was a whole new world of storage totes and space saving items to explore.  Yes, I have those mother pains as my daughter leaves the nest, but I cannot say it hasn’t been quite fun helping her plan out her dorm room and buying the things she needs for it.

The other day, all that organization got me thinking.  Wouldn’t it be easy if we could take all the anger or anxiousness we feel and put it in a box, and just get it out when we needed it?  Or just when we had to deal with it?  We could have a nice big storage item with different compartments for different emotions.  Then when I have time for my tearful breakdowns, I can get them out and process them.  When I need to be angry with my children because they are in trouble, I can get that out and use it.  When I get talked into watching a scary movie or am facing a new life obstacle, I can grab some courage and use it.  The other bonus would be that when I am busy at work and some random thing reminds me of my mother who recently passed away, I won’t start tearing up because my sadness is safe at home in a box.  When my daughter is arguing with me about the same thing that we’ve argued about 100 other times, I can control my temper better because past frustration is safely nestled in its own little section of my box.  It seems so simple.

One of my favorite people to read about in the Bible is Mary, the mother of Jesus.  I try to put myself in her shoes as a women, a wife, a mother often.  I can’t imagine the strength and faith she needed to get through all the wonderous things she encountered.  My favorite statement about her is in Luke 2:19 where after the amazing birth of Jesus and things that followed, it is written “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  I just love that imagery.  I see her putting all the incredible emotions she must have been feeling in a little lockbox in her heart and then sorting through them reliving, treasuring, and processing each feeling and memory.

As a mother, I feel sometimes like I am that Mary.  Our lives move so fast, some days I snap a quick picture or make a mental note of an encounter only to take the time later to really experience it.  I get it out of my little heart box and ponder it, relish in it, savor it.  The truth is that a nice little storage box for emotions with separate compartments would be convenient, but that it would diminish our human experience.  Things are sweeter when we have tasted the sour.  The joy takes us higher when we have come through a valley.  The fear helps us build our courage and the struggles give us patience.  We are not built to manage all these emotions together – we need our Father’s help and guidance to find out way through them.  But they are all part of the path that God has laid out for us … the good, the bad, and everything in between.

I do have a special storage place for all my emotions.  It’s a small lockbox, just like Mary’s, where I can store those treasures and ponder them in my heart.  They don’t all stay in their own little section, but that is what makes them so much better.  And that is how the Lord intended it.

Storing up treasures,

Dina Newsom

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