Today, everyone is out of the house and so it’s just me and my thoughts. The things that I’ve been pushing down because there are sandwiches to make, noses to wipe and lost toys to rescue from under the couch have now reared it’s ugly head to the surface. I can no longer ignore what I’ve tried so hard to forget.
It started when I had to transfer all the things from my see-through Cowboys purse to my “new” purse. I went to my first pro-football game with my brother over the weekend and was told that my “old” purse was too big and I wasn’t allowed to take it into the stadium. Even after trying to reason with security that I could fold in the sides to meet the size requirement, I was handed a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and told that was the only thing I could bring in.
So shamefully, I got out of line, said my final goodbyes to my “old” purse and tossed it in the trash. I hate to waste things, but my “old” purse was the only thing keeping me from entering the stadium. I didn’t have much of a choice. It was either chuck the bag or no game (which they ended up losing anyway). So I walked through the metal detector and was handed my Ziploc bag of shame only to replace it with a slightly less shameful, overpriced, see-through Cowboys purse.
I’ve been using that thing for the past few days, but it barely held anything, so I finally found another purse, my “new” purse and started using it. My mom actually got it for me a while ago, but I never really used it. It’s fancier and can hold more things, but it’s not my “old” purse. In all honestly, I should have retired that “old” purse months ago, but I just couldn’t. It was comfortable, sturdy, dependable and had the perfect spot for everything. I could use it at work, when I needed to be hands-free with the kids, it was just perfect!
So this morning as I stuffed all my junk into this “new” purse, I was sad. I missed my “old” purse. I know it’s ridiculous. It’s just a purse. A material possession that won’t last forever. At some point, I was going to have to get rid of it and get a new one, but I wanted it to be on my terms, not because I was told that it was not acceptable. When I would reach down to where my phone should have been, I found my keys instead. Everything was now in a different spot. It wasn’t where it was supposed to be.
And then I realized that I wasn’t really missing my “old” purse, but I was grieving over my “old” life. Our family has gone through a lot of “old” purses in the past year. First, I quit my job and left the only church I have considered my home church at the end of last year. I felt crushed and heartbroken. A place and people I had known for practically my whole life…gone.
Then earlier this year my husband, his boss and many of his co-workers were fired or “resigned”. I cannot even begin to put into words how absolutely devastating it has been. We have been living through a lot of uncertainty on what the future holds for us.
So while I, and many others, may be walking around with “new” purses, know that behind the fancy exterior, there may be unspoken hurt and heartbreak. The “new” purse may not have been a choice, but was something we were forced into.
I understand that there is so much to be grateful for, and I am. But I also grieve and mourn. And I know that that too is okay. Even Jesus wept. And while I know I need to move forward, and believe me I want to, I also know that ignoring one’s pain and sweeping things under the rug usually does not bring the wholeness and healing that comes when you deal with your grief. I know that with time, little-by-little, step-by-step, God will redeem and restore that which was lost. He will bring beauty from these ashes.