I moved recently. Into a house! Not a fourplex, not a duplex, a house. With zero shared walls. I can’t hear the neighbors sneeze, fight or makeup afterward. I have my own yards, both front, and back. I can even have pets there if I ever plan on being home long enough to care for them well. I will not likely get a pet, is what that means. I moved into this place a month ago. I’ve done the settling in, buying and selling of furniture, figured storage out, but I have to admit that there are a few boxes just sitting in the middle of my living and dining rooms. I mostly know what’s in them but I don’t want to deal with them.
One in the living room has become a bit of a table, collecting mail and books. The box in the dining room needs to go somewhere, I just don’t know where yet. I’ve started to see them as metaphors, but for what? Clearly some kind of baggage, something I stub my toe on when walking to the kitchen in the dark. I might need to scribble over their labels and write above them, insecurities or unresolved conflict (I think I stole that joke from somewhere. I can’t recall where). That’s the thing about baggage, it comes with you, doesn’t it? Like the love handles I developed in my late twenties, this stuff isn’t easily abandoned.
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
(See what I did there?)
Think of those who spend years working toward a goal, trying to get not somewhere, but to become something- a doctor, author, pastor, husband, mother. We take classes and develop skills and student loans, pray, learn how to diagnose, develop, discipline and otherwise create, but after all that work and by the time we finally get that book deal, that salary, put to work the things in us we’ve invested into so heavily, the rest of us is still there.
If I change everything I can about my environment, there will always be a little cursor blinking above my head labeled, You are Here. And I am. I bring all of myself into new relationships, I pack all that I am, both the good and the bad, neurotic and natural when I go on vacation or down the street to the supermarket. We can’t escape ourselves.
This is a good thing because escapism isn’t really a thing and once we realize that, we might actually deal with the things that need to change. On the flip side, we might embrace some of the things we’ve run from, too. Knowing which is which is important and might require the help of a counselor, pastor or a friend who doesn’t pull their punches.
Wherever you go, there you are, in all of your glory and hopefully, you aren’t alone. We all need people who can help us to unpack those things, only to discover that there are more, like Russian nesting dolls, but that’s okay because being complicated and always partially broken is what it means to be a human.