Sometimes, you just need to shake things up. Like today… When I got home from work, I walked into the kitchen, looked around and said, “Sarah, you need to shake things up a little!” I went into my tiny, portable home office area–the living room couch and a tv tray– packed up the whole shebang, and moved it into my dining area. Let’s be real: I am single and eat alone. Why do I really need to leave my dining table dusty and empty when I can turn it into the office that I so desperately need?
I needed to plug in my computer, but to get to the outlet in the dining area, I had to move a stack of boxes. I didn’t intend to waste a bunch of extra time going through the boxes. But when I was moving the last box back to the storage room, I dropped it. It was a 20-year-old box and so it split, the tape ripped away, and the guts of the box gushed across my kitchen floor. As I tried to pull it all back together, I saw a clear, plastic box full of pictures. Momentarily ignoring the mess, I stood in the middle of my kitchen and flipped through them, delighted. My 6th grade field trip to the NC Zoo in Asheboro. My Dad’s graduation from seminary. Christmases. Birthdays. Baptisms. Weddings.
My friend, Joell, made a comment this week about how as her children get older, she looks back on their lives and can only remember the good parts. “Selective memory” she called it. For the past 31 years, I’ve found myself with the opposite problem. The painful things have always seemed the most poignant. Instead of remembering joy, laughter and smiles, I’ve been remembering the scraped knees, the black eyes, the busted noses, and the broken hearts.
Sometimes God has to break the box so that we can get the stuff that’s inside to come out. As I flipped through the pictures today, I noticed something. In every single picture of me, I’m smiling. Not just a painted-on, plastic, fake smile. But a real, chipmunk-cheeked, show-your-teeth, bright-eyed smile! I was gripped with gratitude over how God has blessed me. The pictures prove to me that in the midst of some very real, piercing, wrenching personal traumas, God gave me reasons to smile. And today, He gave me a boxful of snapshots to remind me of how good LIFE is.
Note – The picture above is me, circa 1980. Notice the smile!