Monday, July 13, 2009

Packing and Unpacking

Life among the boxes...that is how it has been for a couple of months now. It is maddening, in a way: that thing I need now, whatever it is--and of late it has been a) my cuff-links and collar tabs; b) the charger for my electric screwdriver; c) my worship planner, and I remember putting it/them in a box just right there at the last minute, one I knew I would unload and see and open immediately--gets lost because the box I packed and loaded there at the last is indistinguishable from all the boxes we packed and loaded at the first, and all of them forming a small mountain range of corrugated peaks and cliffs in one or the other of several rooms.

Remember The Truman Show? It was not a great movie, but it had a great lobby poster. A visual artist had taken hundreds of photos, stills from the movie, and had arranged them in such a way that from a distance, Jim Carrey's face appeared much as it would in a studio portrait. Up close it was a bunch of little pictures, various moments in Truman's life.

I think of that when I look at our boxes. From a distance they are one picture of our entire life, in pasteboard cubes that taken together represent just about everything we are. Up close, though, each box contains only atoms, molecules, cells of our existence.

It is hard to pack up our lives every few years. It is harder to keep track of all the stuff that for one reason or the other we want to hold onto. Gandhi had everything he owned in a canvass pouch. Chances are his pouch is with my cuff-links in one of our boxes, along with the kids' crib toys, their rocking horses and grammar school artwork, their prom dress/prom tux and all Jo's bridesmaids gowns. Of course, I only carry several hundreds of books I have neither read nor will.

My back is aching. My legs are tired. My brain has turned to clay--all from hauling our lives down I-85 about 30 miles. How do snails do it all day, everyday, their whole life long?

Anyone mind if I just retire from here?


Anne L.B. said...

Tom, I like your description of a composite photograph so much better that the oft used metaphor of the two sides of a tapestry (me seeing the underside, God seeing the beauty of the other).

The tapestry metaphor hints that if I simply move, I'll be able to understand everything from God's perspective. But even if I move to His perspective, I still can't see the finished picture, because it's a work in progress.

The composite picture, on the other hand, means for right now, I can see just one image at a time. Only with sufficient distance will I glimpse the bigger picture.

Amy said...

I can relate. I'm preaching on Sunday and some of my books are packed and I want to quote from a book that is packed and is not available at Barnes and Noble. Oh well... I tell myself that Jesus never had a home... gosh, moving is overrated. peace-

Bill said...

My wife and sons gave me one for Father's Day. I recommend the Kindle!