The Battered Old Trunk

The Battered Old Trunk lies open again on my bedroom floor. Its leaving time. I cant believe is come around so soon again and I can’t believe that moving this much would even be possible. It seems as though this Battered Old Trunk is the only constant I know sometimes. I know its coming back around again, always.

I used that Battered Old Trunk as a step stool in my first dorm room, bed too tall to reach, too much stuff underneath. My brother lugged it up the many steps to the first dorm in Ohio the following year. A trunk too big and too full that I could never carry it myself, but always had to have it carried for me. It traveled back and forth through the long years of belonging in two places and loving all the moments that brought me each way.

The Battered Old Trunk stood sideways in the first place I paid for on my own, never opened, never unpacked. It seems I have a sense for temporary.

In this new place I used The Battered Old Trunk to stand on to see myself in the mirror. The new place that will soon become the old. Unpacking The Battered Old Trunk this time around seemed more permanent. I mean, I actually unpacked it this time. But as it lie open and empty, ready for sweaters and blankets and scarves, I wonder if The Battered Old Trunk will ever have a permanent home, and I ask God if its meant to.

Pops will carry it down the many stairs and to the truck, someone else doing the carrying again. Its just that sometimes I need to not go alone, sometimes I just need family to be there, helping me carry everything up and down the stairs. Maybe thats the lesson of loneliness, perhaps the only remedy for alone is to let someone else carry too.

Maybe The Battered Old Trunk reminds me of my heart. Maybe I have been moved and opened and closed tight for months. Today I feel nothing but empty. Empty of all the expectations, the unrest, the to-do lists, the running. God has finally gotten my tight-closed heart open and all the stuff has finally spilled out. Luckily, he’s carrying me up and down the stairs, because I can focus on nothing else besides the deep and abiding peace that has come from letting the latches fly open.

Oh what amazing love.

I have doubted greatly that God was after me. That he wanted me, my heart, my mess, my life. This year has been one of running from the truth of Love itself. I guess I just thought that if I kept trying to do everything on my own, God would leave me alone to do it all. What a joke. What a dumb joke. God brought me out to alone, to teach me that its good to be loved. Not just by him, but by others too. Its like a little child running because she’s hurt, but finally collapses in the arms of her father because she knows He’s the real safe place.

It sometimes takes everything to admit defeat and to collapse.

Maybe I resented taking that Battered Old Trunk from place to place. To think, that God may have taken seriously my promise to follow him to the ends of the earth. Could this transient life be the one I am made for? Could he have made it this way for me specifically? Perhaps. Tomorrow I may be called to something entirely new, but for now I must be faithful to the promise that I made. Even though its quite quite hard.

So I pack The Battered Old Trunk. I fill it with scarves and sweaters and blankets as I wonder where in the world it will be unpacked, and who will carry it up the stairs this time. My heart stays open and empty. Its a pretty incredible fact that open and empty is actually stronger than closed-tight. I didn’t know that I could be strong like that. I thought that closed-tight was my home forever.

I fell in love with a parish church on the coast of a great big island. My heart broke in the leaving of it. They way a heart breaks when its in love. Love is the only response to a Church that is so beautiful. I landed in a smaller place, a place begging for a love I cannot give. Luckily we have a good Father to carry it along its way. I walk on to a new place yet unknown. Open and empty I will receive them, and I will love. Love this broken perfect and beautiful Church who is my mother and my home, and the Battered Old Trunk will go with me, used for various weird purposes.

 

-M

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