This is the last pondering/ rambling about us being a house, I promise!
Part 1: You are a House is here.
Part 2: Discernment (alternate title -- I can see in your windows!) is here.
However, this is what started this whole thought process. I had to find a way to put words/ imagery to this experience.
I mentioned that we all have a junk closet in our house. Okay -- Jennifer only has a junk drawer. And it probably has labeled dividers in it. Whatev. (I actually don't have a junk closet in my physical house because I have exactly 3 closets in my house -- one in each bedroom -- but my laundry room gets an honorary nod as a junk closet. And the bottom of my pantry. And my attic. You get the idea...).
I have a dear friend whose figurative junk closet contained not only stuff that she crammed in there, but a WHOLE load of pain and garbage that life and other people piled in. I'll call her Hoarder of Other People's Junk. Several years ago, partly due to her choosing, and partly because life threw her yet another wrench, HOPJ finally cried "mercy" and said, "ENOUGH!!"
She dusted off her scraped and bruised knees, stood on her shaky feet, and proceeded to clean out that junk closet.
Ever been through a box of painful memories? Yeah -- that's cleaning out the junk closet. One photograph and memento at a time. Remembering the pain and heartache and tossing them out. In cleaning out the figurative junk closet, you come across habits and behaviors that you have created as coping/ comforting mechanisms to deal with the pain -- and depending on how healthy or unhealthy THOSE are, you may have to get rid of something that has been very comfortable for you.
In short, it's a pain to clean out the junk closet. Literally. It's an ugly process.
HOPJ has spent years getting healthy, uncovering those coping mechanisms, tossing out the unhealthy, forging a better life for herself. She is no longer HOPJ -- now she is Standing on Her Own Two Feet.
Not too long ago, Standing invited me into her former junk closet. There is one last order of business that needs taking care of on her road to a complete closet re-do -- and she would like my help.
Realizing that this closet has held some of her deepest pain and biggest hurts, I had to confess my hesitation. Hesitation not only to simply be there, but to say anything once I came in:
"I'm... I'm not sure what I can say and can't say about this last pile of junk."
"You can say anything."
Very thoughtfully, she explained: "You have enough deposits in my love bank. I know that anything you say is out of love and wanting my closet to be clean. ThisOne can't say anything. I just got through shoveling fifty pounds of manure that ThisOne dumped in my junk closet, so ThisOne can't say a word without it upsetting me. It's just bringing the junk back into the closet. But you? You can say anything."
At that moment in time, I felt the urge to remove my shoes.
I realized that I was standing on Holy Ground.
To be invited into the deepest recesses of another's soul -- the place where the biggest hurts and fears, and even the biggest Dreams, live-- is a hallowed, sacred place.
I realized the level of trust it took for Standing to invite me in, lay bare her hurts and fears, and let us sit in the middle of her junk closet together and find a way to clean that sucker out.
I wondered how often someone has allowed me -- without me having full awareness -- a toe, a glimpse, a part of his/ her junk closet... and I treated it flippantly, casually, a wave of the hand, a smile, a half of an ear.
And when I didn't understand the gravity of that situation, not only did I pile more into the junk closet, but that person put one more nail in the door, vowing never to let anyone else peek inside again.
It is a beautiful, sacred experience when we offer pieces of our lives and selves to each other. When trust is established and we know it is a safe place to be. It goes so far beyond fellowship, yet must start there.
And... truth be told. You have to go first. You have to be willing to trust someone first. And at some point someone will breech that trust and you'll get hurt (you can forgive, but you don't have to be an idiot and trust them twice...). That's what makes us all tick and connect. The ability to reach out and say: "I think you're worth taking a risk on. I like you. I trust you with my junk."
And? Follow Standing's example. Get your junk cleaned out. Get a professional junk cleaner if necessary. Find a friend/ spouse who will go through your junk with you. Because life is constantly piling on new junk. No need to keep dragging around the old junk.