Tuesday, June 05, 2012
The Guest Room Closets
The space between committing and acting is called stressing. And this is where you find yourself. Stressing about the one who, in a couple of short weeks, will step on an airplane, cross a continent and an ocean, and land on your doorstep. A stranger.
A twelve year old stranger: dimpled, cute, alone in the world. Yet somehow, strangely intimidating. Not him, really. Just the thought of him. Of him and his stranger-ness. And you and your not-enough-ness.
You don't know what to do with yourself and the only thing you can think of is to go dig around in the dark abyss of your guest room closets and start making some room for this dear child. You know he will need space, and that is just about all that you know. You root around for a few minutes and discover your old Wii and Playstation video game systems that are collecting dust, and you realize that there isn't a twelve year old boy alive who wouldn't love them.
You realize you have something.
Encouraged, you continue. And as you pour through the buried contents of the guest room closets--a veritable asylum for all that is forgotten, all that is unnecesary to daily living--you find some of your greatest treasures: Your wedding invitations. Your husband's photo albums from his childhood. The baby quilt you painstakingly stitched atop your nine month swollen belly in the days before your first child was born. You find old birthday cards and letters from friends near and mostly far. You find notes of thanks from favorite students--students who were twelve, dimpled, and cute, you remember. Children who you loved and cared for and thought of, in some strange way, as yours for the brief time you had them.
You realize that you have something else.
Digging now with enthusiasm, you spy something hard and black and plastic at the bottom of the clutter and see that it is your husband's violin case. Nestled inside the cheap blue velvet lining is the small violin that has known your husband's soul much longer than you have. It is the one that is the subject of his parents' favorite story of how your husband, at age ten, decided he would play the violin even though there was no orchestra. And how that husband took lessons every week though the teacher lived an hour away, and how that husband learned and got good and played in a youth orchestra another hour away that eventually took him around the world to play in the Sydney Opera House. And, years later, to stand before family and friends and all who were important and play a song for his blushing bride--just because she asked him to. And you love that story because you love how the man you married is willing to sacrifice for things that don't seem important to most people because he can see their inherent worth, their potential.
And you realize that you have enough.
You stand and stare at the guest room closet, now empty. And at the floor of the guest room, now strewn with the pieces of your life. And you step back and you realize that this is all you need: a life. A life worth sharing.
Well, that and an empty closet.
And now you have both.
This summer, our family is hosting an orphan child from the Ukraine for 5 weeks through an orphan hosting program called Homes of Hope International. If you would like to find out more info, visit their website at hohinternational.org or ask me about it!