Father’s Day Benediction

I recently told a dear friend of mine I hated Father’s Day because my dad passed away years ago. I soon realized I was preaching to the choir. You see, my friend had a child, an only child, and she too had passed away. His child was special for myriad reasons, but most importantly, she was special because she was HIS.

He didn’t get to choose her, but he would have. I feel pretty comfortable saying he’d do it all over again. His beautiful daughter had special needs and needed nursing care all of her 10 years she lit up his world. Now that she is gone, besides the gaping chasm left in his heart, she took with her his feeling of being a father. This led me to ask myself what a father really was.

I never met his daughter, but I can tell you about the gift she left us. She left us her DAD. Chad used to spend hours devoted to her care. Now, he cares for others ranging from lonely friends, to his parents, to students struggling (and I do mean STRUGGLING :)) with APA format. He shovels gravel with a smile, will make your universal remote behave with decorum, and read your favorite books just so he can talk about them with you. He will play board games with large amounts of instructions. He will watch movies adapted from books even if you warn him they are awful. He will drop off passion tea lemonade to a friend, and not JUST because that friend got him hooked on them. He will encourage small children, and he will encourage large children. Actually, he just encourages everyone.

Now, he’d be the first to try to deny all of this. For starters, he likes to argue just a little. He loves science and math and feelings are just not in any equation he likes to work. He prefers to be the behind the scenes type of person because that is who he is. He likes to pretend he’s a tough guy, and truth is he is a tough guy—a better tough guy than most tough guys are.

He’s the kind of tough guy that tells you to remember your umbrella when it is raining hours away from where you live. He’s the kind of tough guy that plays video games with a nephew and recommends books to his niece. He’s the kind of tough guy that will listen to your hurt and never hint of his own.

Being a good dad starts before the birth of a child. It extends far as far back as learning to be a good sibling. Being a good dad also reaches long after death, whether that is the death of the parent, or even when it is tragically the child’s. It’s the selfless nature, encouraging words, and raw love shown that proves a person is a real dad, even in the face of ultimate hurt when a child leaves the world her parent shares first.

So Chad, Happy Father’s Day to the best DAD I know. I’m so thankful you ARE a DADDY. It made you who you are, and the legacy of love you gave your daughter will live long after all of us in the quiet way you care for the people in your world. You don’t have to feel like a DAD to prove you are in the example you set for your family and friends. We know you are a dad because of the kind of love for others shown is the kind that lives on forever. I’m thankful for you every day.

(Ladies, he’s single. Can you even believe that? All interested parties can contact me and I’ll pass on your info!)

 

My Life, the Coloring Book

I have 35 coloring books lined up on a shelf. I refer to them in polite company as memories.  Sometimes I take them down and flip through them.  I’d like to say I colored them in all by myself, but I didn’t.  I helped color them in by the things I did, people I chose to be around, and who I let hold crayons.

Who holds your crayons? When I was little my grandmother, my babysitter, kept the crayons on a high shelf in the pantry.  At the time, I hated that and resented having to ask for them when I wanted to use them.  Looking back, the ones we love hold the crayons in more than one way.  She helped color those early years in, and kept my crayons safe.  She helped choose people I would be around, and therefore she also chose who held the crayons to color in my first five coloring books.

When you get a little older you want to start making everything your own.  You use crayons to color outside the lines to test your limits.  You use colors you’ve never used before, and they might become new favorites.  You start seeing friends, and not just family all over your coloring book pages.  It becomes even more beautiful when you flip back though them.

When you are a teenager pages might have equal dark and light on them.  Splashes of color that are vibrant are right beside colors of memories of middle school and high school trauma.  We take the good with the bad and hope that in the end our pages look prettier each day.  Sometimes they do.  Sometimes they don’t.

As an adult we choose who holds our crayons.  We shape our coloring books just as much as we shape our family’s and friend’s coloring books.  Loved ones get married.  Loved ones have babies.  We color the most vibrant colors of all.  Loved ones die.  Loved ones get divorced.  We color some of the darkest pages of all as adults.

What color of crayon are you holding over your family and friend’s coloring books?  Are you a bearer of light?  Are you shading in rich, bold colors?  Are you warming the pages with your presence?

Some pages are meant to be dark.  Some beautiful things come out of darkness.  If someone scribbles all over your pages with ugly colors, the pages that follow can be some of the most beautiful.  After a rainstorm can come a beautiful rainbow.  You can’t choose the colors when you let people color in your coloring book.  You just get to choose the crayon holder.

Hanging It Up

There is nothing on my walls of my living room. I had never really thought about it until a friend of mine mentioned that the walls were bare at their place too. They too had gone through what I will call an unexpected loss of a long-term living situation. They said they couldn’t quite bring themselves to hang something up, but they weren’t sure why. That got me to thinking about what it means to hang something up on the wall.

When I moved out of the house I shared with my ex-husband I took a few of the wall hangings. They were things I loved or had bought specifically because I liked them, even though I knew they wouldn’t be his favorite. I had great intentions for those pieces, but so far 7 months after I moved out I still haven’t hung them up. Some are in storage, while others have sat right behind the couch mocking me as I chose not to hang them. I don’t have one picture displayed. What is wrong with me?

I thought about it and I think that while the walls around me are technically mine, I’m still possibly a little bitter that they are my walls.  These walls are not walls I had planned for myself. These walls were walls I was forced into moving into because of a situation. These walls are temporary. Does that make them less important? Does a temporary situation mean I shouldn’t hang things up to make this place mine? Hanging things up means coming to peace with what is my life in the now. I have to admit that my life looks nothing like what it did a year ago, and I have to be okay with that.

After confronting a lot of feelings, a nice hot bath, and a fit of rage and crying I think I am ready to accept my walls. My walls don’t have to be perfect. They don’t have to be my walls forever. But my home is my home. My life is different, and that doesn’t make it bad. What my home was missing in the bare walls is life. We live here, so my walls should have life. They should have life because I have a lot of life left.

So, tomorrow I will hang up something. It doesn’t all have to be done in one day. I will make this place mine, because for now, it is mine. It’s time to build something new, and to do that I need to live where there is life all around me. I’m going to hang it up.

To My Beautiful, Newly Minted 12-Year-Old Daughter

Dear Baby Girl,

Today is an important day. Twelve years ago you were brought into a world that already looks a lot different than it did then. The evening I met you face to face we were watching the news, and I thought about the scary world you were going to face. I doubted my ability to keep you safe in a world where people hurt each other on purpose. Of course, I meant strangers, but this year your own parents did what you had labeled unthinkable. They got a divorce, and they hurt you more than any stranger ever has. We didn’t start out to hurt you, or for that matter, each other.

I always liked October because that was when all the leaves fell off the trees after achieving brilliant colors like gold, red, and orange. It never seemed sad when the leaves fell because it is understood that in order for there to be a spring, there must first be a fall. So, that’s how I hope you can grow to see this period in our lives together. Our family achieved brilliant things, just like those trees’ colors, but just because we don’t all live together in one house doesn’t mean life is over. We have a ton of life left in us.

So, I sat down to think about what I would give you if I could give you anything on this very important birthday. I would pick courage, but you already have more than your share of that. I see it everyday. I’d choose to encourage you to be who you really are, but again, you do that without blinking, despite your peers. Beauty would also be pointless because your heart is already shining out of your sparkling brown eyes and showing the world how caring and wonderful you are. Then it came to me, and I knew it was a perfect gift.

If I could give you anything, I’d give you mistakes to make. I’d also gift you not being afraid to make those mistakes. I know you’ll give me a deep frown when you read this and grumpily say, “Mom!” Please understand that this gift keeps on giving. Making mistakes is priceless. I’ve made more than my share, and I have even hurt people with my mistakes. I’ve made mistakes I’m incredibly sorry for, and I’ve made a few I don’t consider actual mistakes unless you look at other people’s definition of mistake. No matter what kind of mistake you make, you come away with something valuable. You’ll have more knowledge, strength, and hope that things can get better. Some of my “mistakes” are the best things I ever did.

Please know the world is still a scary place. It’s probably more scary now than when you were born, but don’t let that change YOU. Take all that courage, beauty, and being yourself and make some mistakes. You only get a few years anyway. Just yesterday I was holding a tiny bundle of pink and purple, and today I have a giant, leggy, beautiful 12-year-old. You are perfect, and don’t let anyone ever tell you any different, not even when you make mistakes.

I love you more than you could ever know,

Mom

Breaking Free of Silence

Silence can be an enjoyable thing or it can be a marinade of lonely mixed with apathy.  The first kind is found with old friends, a good book, or a hot bath.  The second kind was where I lived.

This Silence wasn’t characterized just by a lack of words.  It was a tangible entity enveloping all those that lived inside the house.  It settled first into the rooms, making them seem hollow,  then settled into the bones of the people that called that place home. Once it was there, even as an uninvited guest, it simply wasn’t willing to vacate, and Silence has a way of taking over.

Since the Silence isn’t just heard, it’s felt, those that dwell there try to fill it with other hollow things.  The one that created it will try the hardest to fill it up with electronic noise, which only serves to exacerbate it instead of filling it. The others try to fill it with comforting things like playing music, baking, talking to friends on the phone, or making plans with family.  All of those create temporary respite for those enveloped in the Silence.

Breaking free of the growing Silence, and it does grow, is complicated.  To get out you have to find the opposite of the Silence and try to replace it with those things.  Since the opposite of this kind of Silence is communication and relationship, this is a daunting task.  After all, Silence gave them a beating for months, possibly years, before they left for good.  Luring them back takes time and a lot of effort, and you have to pass the gatekeeper before they can get in.  The gatekeeper is the one that made Communication and Relationship leave in the first place.  If they can’t get past the gatekeeper, then there is only one other thing you can do.

Leaving Silence isn’t like leaving a person.  If you lived with it for years, then it has a habit of hanging around until you’ve made it clear it isn’t welcome anymore.  Silence is an optimist.  It will think that shadows of what you were in your former life will slowly become who are you in your new life, but this does not have to be true.  Now you are the gatekeeper, and you have the power to fill your new home with communication and relationship and finally be happy.  And when you are alone, and you have silence, it feels just like being with old friends, reading a good book, or taking a hot bath.

Not Quite Found, But Safe and Sound

When I was about 13 years old my friend Kelli and I decided to walk to another friend’s house.  It didn’t seem like that far of a walk, there was safety in numbers, and we thought we were adults. (We were really really wrong.) Really long story short, we got lost.  We thought we knew where we were. We had our landmarks, were in the woods, and after walking for at least 2 hours we never made it to our friend’s house.  The woods simply got the best of us that day.  To make matters worse just as I stated that things could not get worse the heavens opened and poured rain and we heard a sound of thunder.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this the last few months.  You think because you know your way around somewhere and you have landmarks,  you are safe from getting lost.  This is just not true.  I got lost on my way home this year, metaphorically speaking, and I felt like I knew exactly where I was going.  I felt like I had a plan on how to get there, and just when I thought I had it all figured out, the metaphorical rain started pouring from the sky.

Every little piece of us makes up the whole.  When we feel broken, we forget that even while we are broken, our parts are still there.  You can be broken and still be a whole person.  Sometimes we find the pieces of ourselves in the places we wouldn’t think to look, and for me the place I wouldn’t have thought to look is in the rear view mirror.  While I’ve been feeling lost I’ve come into contact with a few folks that I felt like had already come into my life and had gone out of it forever.  I think sometimes people are in our path to remind us of who we were before we got lost.  We all can use a reminder sometimes.

When my oldest child started middle school she joined  a club sponsored by my former 8th grade middle school teacher. She came home and said she wanted to join a club, and she told me the teacher’s name.  A few weeks prior to that the same teacher and I had a conversation at the front of the school on registration day.  This teacher played a huge part in why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place.  I was a teacher’s aide for him in 9th and 10th grade during my study hall because the schools were right next door to each other.  I was allowed to grade papers, decorate the bulletin board with wild abandon, and help students if they needed extra help sometimes.  So, here I was, fresh out of a teaching job because my contract wasn’t renewed, and here he was reminding me of the things that caused me to want to teach in the first place.  I needed that reminder, and I’m glad to have crossed paths again. I’m blessed that now his legacy will extend to my child.  I picked up a piece of myself that day that I had neglected to think about in many years.

This week I was substituting my final few days  in Algebra 1 and my 7th grade homeroom and math teacher walked in the door.  She smiled a big smile.  She came straight over and hugged me, and said my name.  She said my name, and I hadn’t seen this lady in 22 years.  She was one of my favorites, but more importantly she was the first person that showed me what it meant to be in a middle school.  That was a scary time, but she helped me grow my confidence, and her sense of humor always made math fun.  I knew she was important to me, and she held relevance to my life.  But it was her that said my name first.  That meant somehow my life in her class hadn’t been forgotten.  After she left I found myself smiling the biggest smile and tearing up at the same time.  A teacher makes a huge impact, and to be remembered brightened my day.  It made me hope that one day, I will remember a student’s name I run across, even 22 years after they sit in a classroom with me.  It was just a moment to her, running across a long lost student, but I picked up another piece of me.

Some pieces of ourselves aren’t pretty.  Some pieces have doubts, confusions, hurts, anger, and failures.  It’s the rare person that can tackle those parts of us and not grow weary, but another person I knew from long ago came back into my life last year and did just that.  This friend is the reason I told my students in Algebra on the first day to be very nice to people this year because you never know if your friend that can help fight your worst battles in a few decades will be sitting near you in Algebra class.  Some people don’t just give you one piece of yourself back.  Some people hold up a mirror and make you see the whole person again.  You just can’t put a price on that.

Some words aren’t big enough.  Some words attempt to convey meanings, but never can cover exactly what you are trying to say.  Sometimes your heart is so full you can’t fully impart upon others the exactness of the spirit of your words. I have had moments in the past year that have helped me pick up pieces and decrease the amount of lost I feel.  I am surrounded by fantastic people.  Grateful doesn’t quite cover it, and even when you are still kind of lost, grateful feels pretty good.

Knock, Knock. Change the Lock.

Have you ever fumbled with your keys trying to get them into a lock and you couldn’t remember what the key even looked like?  You just had to try them all and hope for the best.  Once, I couldn’t get into my car.  I hit the button on my keyring on my automatic opener, but nothing.  I tried it a few more times because I thought there was no way the battery could be dead.  Still it did nothing.  Finally, I tried the key, and it didn’t even work.  There was a pretty big reason for this.  The car wasn’t mine.  It was identical to mine, but it belonged to my friend that had one the same make and model, and I was trying to let myself into hers.  Of course the key didn’t work, the lock wasn’t mine.

I spent years knocking on the door of a heart who never answered, and I ended up making my home on the welcome mat.  I was just optimistic enough to think that one day I’d finally pick the lock, hit the right combination, or be handed the key outright and I would finally see what made this person tick.  Some days I thought I was almost inside.  I had moments where I felt like I saw beyond the facade and beyond the day to day into something more real.  Conversations that were surface level ruled most days.  We discussed what we ate for lunch, what movie was being released on Netflix, who in the family was having issues, and then we’d hit this wall.  We couldn’t break through it, and I may never know why.

Trusting people is hard work.  Letting them see the you that most people don’t get to see isn’t easy because in order for this to happen you have to be vulnerable.  No one likes being vulnerable.  It carries risk, and the risk is rejection with a side of humiliation and a touch of unbearable pain.  So when someone lets you in, you should proceed with caution as though you are somewhere special.  Someone letting you in can happen in a matter of hours if you find someone that is a rare soul mate.  It can happen in days, months, or even years.  But there is a sad truth that some may never find out.  You can spend years with someone and never be handed the keys to their heart.  Their fences and walls may be up for even those most close to them, and maybe they just aren’t willing to risk it.

We lock our hearts up tight to protect us. We let some in and others seem to have their own roadmap once they get inside our hearts. But what I discovered is  there’s always the chance that someone is going to change the locks on you.  What happens then?  I had to change my perspective on this quite a bit.  What if there is a big reason you can’t get in? What if this lock wasn’t your lock to begin with?  What if the only way into the hearts with the highest walls  made of the toughest brick and stucco was from the inside out?  What if all those dead bolts they put up to keep people out of their innermost thoughts and feelings have to be unlocked willingly?  You have to deal with a reality that will make you pretty uncomfortable.  You were never meant to get in.  They didn’t choose to let you in, and they have their own reasons for that.  That lock isn’t yours to open.  Yes, it’s a hurtful thought, but either it’s yours and it won’t open from the outside, or it’s just not yours in the first place.

You can’t make someone let you in.  But when they do, make it count.  No one can live on a welcome mat forever.

Headed Home

It has been said you can’t go home again, and I can attest to that. Home changes as you go through life. Home isn’t a real place. Home is a feeling, and depending on how you were raised or what your life was like up until this point those feelings can vary. When I was young, home was many places. Home was my house, my grandparent’s house, school, and church. I dwelled in those places, lived there, made them my own, shared memories there, and finally left them. Those places are actual places, but the memories are the real “home”. Once my father died, my grandparents died, I finished school, and the church ceased to be home because of the people I lost no longer attending I didn’t consider those places home anymore.

Home, once I married, was a place where my family was. It was a place where my children learned to walk and talk. They grew and made memories there. They lost teeth, they celebrated birthdays, they played outside, they hunted Easter eggs, and Santa showed up. Once again, those places ceased to be home once we moved on and moved to another home. Each time we moved more memories were made, and each time those places took on a sense of home.  Memories are the childhood.  Memories are the home.  You might not be able to go home again, but you can’t lose home totally as long as you have your memories.

So what happens when you lose your sense of home altogether? It turns out you don’t die. You feel like you might at first, but you don’t actually die. A few weeks ago, on the heels of moving out of my “home” because of my impending divorce, I lost my job. That job was what kept me afloat this past year. You see, I teach. Every day was something new and every day I lived to go into the building and see these tiny humans and share their lives. I loved the pictures they drew me, and their smiles fed me. They kept me human. They made me laugh at times when I didn’t feel like I would ever laugh again. They got me out of bed each morning and made me sad to leave each day, and they never even knew it. They were my home when my own home felt like a war zone.  I lost two “homes” in one week, and now I have a clean slate to start with. Sounds empowering to some, but it’s a daunting task in actuality.

What should home be? Home to me is a place to feel safe in your own skin. It’s a place to share conversation and laughter. It’s a place for inside jokes and great food. No one judges you at home. Home is a place you hate to leave, and you love to return to as soon as you can. It’s a place to make memories. Home is where your desk can be a bit messy, or you can read tacky fiction and no one is the wiser. Home is where you can decorate however you want. Home is where no one tells you how many books is a tolerable amount. Home is a place to be you with no one telling you differently. It’s a place for your people, or your person.

Being in search of home is an odd place when you are in your 30’s. Most people my age have it together, and here I am feeling a little lost. The good thing about being lost is you can’t stay lost forever. Even if you don’t move, the places you are become home. Memories are made there, and you can develop a sense of home anywhere. It is okay to feel lost. It’s okay to wake up and feel like you don’t belong somewhere. It’s okay to know you are on the way to somewhere great, but you just aren’t there yet. In a way that’s where we all are. We are all on our way to somewhere great, and we aren’t there yet. And that? That’s okay.

 

The Town Was Paper, But The Memories Were Not

Once every blue moon I find a book that contains a page that requires more than one read in order to really let it sink in.  One of these books for me was John Green’s Paper Towns.  At first glance I didn’t have much in common with the main characters, but I think the heart of the story is relatable by most.  Who hasn’t felt misunderstood, lonely, and been full of uncertainty?  Who hasn’t questioned what is important in life? Who hasn’t questioned who really knew the real person beneath the masks we wear at school, work, and sometimes even home?  So, the main character finds himself at a crossroads: the end of high school.

“My locker was an unadulterated crap hole- half trash can, half book storage… I put it inside my backpack and then started the disgusting process of picking through a year’s worth of accumulated filth- gum wrapped in scraps of notebook  paper, pens out of ink, greasy napkins- and scraping it all into the garbage.  All along, I kept thinking I will never do this again, I will never be here again, this will never be my locker again…”

I hate things.  Given a book, a glass of sweet tea, and sunshine I’m pretty much set.  I have a fondness for highlighters, good pens, post-it notes, and things that make the air around me smell pretty.  I might be a bit of a snob about sheets, but if Egyptian cotton is my worst vice, I’m okay with that.  I hate clutter, unless it’s a books and important papers clutter, so I relate to this kid cleaning out his locker.  It’s exactly how I feel when I’m deciding what to bring with me to my new home after my divorce.  This kid is lucky; he only has a year’s worth of stuff to sort.  I find that I’m opening drawers and asking myself why this stuff is even in there every day.  Most of that stuff goes the way of the locker stuff.  Yep, it has gone right into the garbage. But even with my hatred of stuff, it’s weird thinking it is the last time I’ll be cleaning out that drawer.  It is the last time the cabinet will have my things in it.  I no longer inhabit this place.  This is not my home.

“And finally it was too much.  I could not talk myself down from the feeling, and the feeling became unbearable.  I reached in deep to the recesses of my locker.  I pushed everything-photographs and notes and books-into the trash can.  I left the locker open and walked away.”

I’ve faced this a few times, but mostly when it came to things that belonged to my kids, and I’m packing them thinking of when those items came into my life.  I might need a break after finding a binder of my daughter’s drawings or the outfit my son wore home from the hospital.  It’s not the items.  It’s what they represent.  The life I lived, and the things I felt were important enough to save invoke emotions in me that I can’t really dig deep enough to feel the enormity of every time they wash over me. That’s when I do one of two things, I either throw entire boxes of things away, or I just put the entire box into the move to my place pile.  Knowing memories are there and confronting them are two different animals. But, in the book, he leaves his locker open.  That’s where I differ from this character.  I am ready to close the door. Leaving it open is far more painful than closing this hall of pain I’ve been living in.

“And as paralyzing and upsetting as all the never agains were, the final leaving felt perfect.  Pure.  The most distilled possible form of liberation.  Everything that mattered except for one lousy picture was in the trash, but it felt so great.  I started jogging, wanting to put even more distance between myself and the school. “

The weird thing is the more I sort, decide to keep, and throw away the more I know I’m doing the right thing.  It feels so clean.  It feels so final and perfect.  Would I have been ready for this before right now?  No, I don’t believe I would.  It’s time.  In the midst of all the sadness, anger, hurt, and confusion is this freedom from the pain and lonely I’ve felt growing for years.  Might I be lonely anyway? Sure, but I don’t have to live amidst the lonely.  I don’t have to face each day attempting to get the attention of someone much more content with a glowing screen then a real person.  I don’t have to emotionally starve for conversation and affection in the presence of someone incapable of giving it.  So, I completely understand why this kid is not just walking away from school, but instead jogging.  Sometimes putting distance between you and something that hurts you is the start of the healing process.

“It’s so hard to leave- until you leave.  And then it is the easiest …thing in the world… Leaving feels too good, once you leave.”

Deciding to leave was much harder than the actual leaving process.  Deciding to leave requires hurting someone, and if you are a decent person hurting another person isn’t on your top ten list of fun ways to spend an evening.  In fact, with your empathy in play you can be downright miserable of your own accord only to have the misery of the person you are leaving exacerbate the problem until it’s almost unbearable.  The worst night of my life was spent when I finally gathered the courage to say what I needed to say, but it was also the best night, the most healing night, and the one I wouldn’t trade for anything.  Leaving a place when the time is right feels great.

“But then what?  Do I just keep leaving places, and leaving them, and leaving them, tramping a perpetual journey? …I had to tell them no, because I was closer than I’d ever been before.”

I never like to give up, but this time I feel like only good things are down the road.  Maybe it’s because I have a stronger dose of optimism from birth, but I believe things are going to be better.  I don’t expect miracles, but I expect progress.  A lot of times progress is its own reward.  I know I won’t make the mistakes I made again, and you can’t put a price on that reward.  I don’t leave, but I did leave.  My goal is to make sure I don’t have to leave again, but realistically we all leave.  We all grow and change.  We might not leave people behind each time, but we leave parts of us with every month that goes by.  Life is a perpetual journey.  The key is when we leave to be better, to love deeper, and to live instead of just exist.  I don’t want to just exist.  I don’t want to be the person that just phoned it in.  I want to be first in line to see what’s out there and take it on.  I’m ready for this.

 

Packing Up A Life

I’ve moved before, and with moving comes a lot of feelings expected and unexpected.  I’m a survivor of my feelings.  I can feel them and move past them and keep right on putting things in boxes.  This time though, something is different because packing up a life is different than packing up a house.  I’m not moving my entire family to a new place and unpacking everything.  When you get a divorce you must decide what will fit into a new life that you can’t even imagine yet. I can’t fathom what it will begin to look like when I have my children half the time. Because of this  I can’t seem to finish a box or tote without a tear or at least a heartfelt sigh.  Sorting through things no longer needed brings up memories of when those items were important to me, and this can be a bit overwhelming.

When you pack up a house, you carefully put your belongings wrapped in newspaper into boxes and label them.  You do this because you have intentions of unpacking them in your new place.  You might envision them already sitting on the shelf, counter, or coffee table.  You are putting them in boxes to save for later, for another time and another place.  You are packing with hopes and dreams of a better life.

When you pack up a life, you are carefully packing your hopes and dreams alongside the items and putting them to bed.  You are labeling them in a different kind of way, but labeling them all the same.  You do this for closure.  You are deciding what is important, or necessary. You are swallowing your fears, guilt, and failures while you pack.  And the biggest difference is when you get those boxes to a new location there are no guarantees at what you will find.  Each box contains a different memory of its former residence.  Each box contains a hope and dream that has hopefully morphed into something new and worthy.  But there’s no way to know until you open them.  Packing up a life is a daunting task that isn’t for the fainthearted.  It’s a good thing I’m up for the challenge.