Thursday, June 12, 2008

box collectors anonymous

I have a problem with boxes. At least I did. I like to keep boxes. I have saved the box for almost every small appliance, set of dishes, electronic device, or gift that has come through our abode. So when moving time comes around, I just stuff everything back in the box that it came in, and I am virtually packed! When it is time to mail the Christmas gifts to my family in another province, I have a ready supply of gift boxes and a sturdy box to ship it all off in. One time, we brought a television in for a repair a few years after we bought it, and the service guy was totally impressed when we showed up with it carefully packed in the original box. I have always thought this to be a worthy, wise, and forward-looking habit. This box habit. This box addiction. This inability to throw away packing materials.

Until this move. You see, I have nowhere to store boxes anymore. Earlier this week I was slightly freaking out, enough for Dean to call me several times a day from work to see how I was doing. When pressed for space, I have been known to rashly give away important things like extensions cords and garden hoses and deep fryers and griddles and storage shelves, but it pains me not to be able to hold onto a box. Silly, really, when you put it that way.

So in the last few days, I stressed about our lack of storage and panicked in my own quiet way by going from box to box and room to room without really accomplishing anything. Then I finally came to the conclusion that not everything could stay if we wanted to fit well into this wonderful new place, and I decided to surrender the boxes. Every single one of them. Well, almost. Dean said we needed to keep the ones from the sound system components, and I stashed a few small ones from my cameras and phones in the cubby hole. But every other box, even those nice new ones we got just for the move, were all broken down and put out on the curb last night for the recycling man.

What's the deal with boxes, you ask? Well, I asked God the same thing. Why do I like my boxes so much? Well, it turns out that they are my safety net. I can always take something back if it does not work out, or pack everything up and get the heck out of here if the situation gets undesirable. This is the tenth home we have lived in during the span of our married lives. I like the idea of moving every few years; it keeps things from getting stagnant. I embrace change quite easily and welcome the chance to make a new start or try something different. But somewhere in there, I began to rely on the "out." On always having another plan, another place to move to. I could always pack up my boxes, they were at the ready. They were my back door.

Not this time. This time we have cut off any easy retreat. We are hunkering down like I don't remember doing before. There is no turning back. The boxes are gone. It looks like we are finally admitting that we are residents of Montreal, and there is no plan to move on like we're just passing through. We didn't plan this. We simply bought a condo that we both felt at home in and after the deal was signed, suddenly my eyes were opened to the fact that this place was not box-friendly. It was a rough few days, letting the boxes go. Letting the old gypsy way of thinking go. Letting go of relying on my readiness in order to make way for daily trust and faith and risk in greater measure. Because God is always greater than my preparation.

This afternoon I stepped outside to get something from the garage and realised that I had locked myself out of the secure building. I felt silly, forgetting my keys, and asked God if perhaps he could figure out a way to get me back in without waiting till Dean came home in 4 hours. I sure couldn't think of a plan aside from ringing all the door buttons to see if anyone was home, and I wasn't sure how well that would work since it was the middle of the day, plus I had only met one neighbour and no one else would know who I was. I retrieved my stuff from the garage and as I was walking around the side of the building, the neighbour I had met two days ago walked around the corner. We had a brief chat, and she was kind enough to use her keys to let me in. Yes, God is much more reliable at working this life stuff out than any of my mighty attempts at preparation or miserable lack thereof.

Boxes away....

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