Summertime heat is upon us in Texas! Just walking from the car to the store was an effort to keep from getting heat stroke today.
People sometimes ask me what we do in Texas in the Summer. To that, I say eating out, shopping indoors, and movies. That’s about it, unless one wants to melt like a pulp. Luckily, the hottest months are usually just July and August.
Having time to spend inside to avoid the heat, I decided to open what I call my, ‘Pain Box’. It’s a box full of memories from a time when life was difficult. Packed in there are videos, cassette tapes, art work my girls made for me when they were young, some photos of my kids, legal documents, and some things I’ve saved from my youth.
It’s a box I keep around thinking that, one day, my kids will want to see some of that. Those crayon, ‘I love you Daddy’ notes, the pictures of us having fun together at Chucky Cheese or the park, and even the Christmas stockings.
The reason I opened the box was to keep searching for an answer to a question I’ve had for a long time. Why? What was I expecting to find in that box? Maybe something I’ve missed, forgotten, overlooked, or just didn’t notice because I was too overcome with the events of the time.
What I can say after looking through that pain box for the first time in a long while, is that it didn’t disappoint. Sure enough, it brought with it pain. It felt like I pulled the band-aide off an old wound and it hurt just like it did back then. It’s why I keep that box on a shelf and avoid it for the most part.
You may be thinking, “Why keep the box if it only causes pain?” I really don’t know, to tell the truth. To me, I guess it all comes down to hope. Hope that, one day, I’ll be able to share my side of things. Hope that, one day, those memories will mean something to those estranged as much as me. Hope that, one day, we’ll all be able to take that box, keep the good memories, and have a nice bonfire with the rest after all the pain has been washed away.
You may have one of those pain boxes too. Memories of times past that you keep locked up and only look at from time-to-time. Mementos you want to share with your kids or grandkids one day. Possibly something that reminds you of a difficult time you keep as a reminder to never forget what you’ve overcome.
Some people would rather just dump that box in the trash and move on. I can totally understand why, too. It’s not that I’m holding onto the pain, far from it. Quite the opposite. God has done a great work in my heart and replaced what was lost in a wonderful way. But, the hope that ALL will be restored is what I still can’t let go of and what’s in the box may, somehow, hold the key. If anything, it keeps me focused to keep praying for full restoration.
We may not be able to change our past, the way people judge and what they might believe about us, but we can change our own hearts. That is what I must focus on for sanity sake. And, it’s what God wants for all of us.
He doesn’t want us living inside that box of pain, He wants us living free from it. That box may hold memories that we have since been healed from and don’t want to relive, or, it could be a reminder of where we’ve come from and how great He has been in getting us through it.
Today, even though I opened that pain box and a few wounds, I want to encourage you that, no matter how bad those pains of the past may be, you can overcome. There is always hope and it will win over all pain in the end.
Just so you know, I put that box back on the shelf where it belongs and spent the rest of the day enjoying the love of my life and best friend…
Love always friends,