A few days ago I was sitting in my living room and my shelf decided it had had about enough and buckled a bit. I looked up and it was leaning to the side, just barely hanging on.
So my mom and I went ahead and gently removed the weight from the struggling piece of furniture. As soon as we removed the last book, the shelf took its final bow.
A couple of days later my mother bought things to replace, reorganize, and rearrange. So then our living room was decorated with boxes and displaced books.
As I was sitting on our couch I took a random picture that I felt looked cool in a sort of …indie album cover way; but as I looked closer at the photo I noticed our poor homesick books & the half open box sitting on my couch. I thought, I should title this photo, “unpacking” because the scene reminded me of what our home looked like when we first moved to this house.
I personally take way too long to unpack, because to be honest…I don’t want to.
…but it’s work that has to be done.
So , I do it because clearly I can’t really get around if I don’t.
And, while I understand that when speaking of boxes, and books. Tonight I’m thinking of it on a different level.
I got hit with some news yesterday. I lost someone very important to me. I lost my father.
A thousand and one feelings came at me at the same time when I heard the news. Long story short… during a much needed heart to heart, it was suggested that I write a letter to him.
For me the letter helps me acknowledge my own feelings and part of me hopes he’s in the next realm listening/reading along to whatever I’m writing.
What I wrote is not the point of me sharing this story. That part is something very personal for me, my father, and the people I’m closest to. That being said…my letter, my collapsed shelf, my infamous night time overthinking…all of it put a message on my heart, and I wanted to share it.
While writing my letter, these random feelings came spilling out and it made me want to write more letters; and maybe I will. Because I realize that I leave a lot of things unsaid, and that is including what I say to myself.
In a way, this loss and the things I’ve done very recently to deal with it made me feel like that shelf inside of my Livingroom.
Did my shelf show signs of being worn down? Was it overloaded? Were some of the books too heavy? Maybe some of the heavier books should have been moved to the lower shelves? The shelf was a bit old, maybe a lot needed to be taken into consideration. Either way, it broke.
We continuously gave it things to hold and never wondered how it was handling the pressure. Once you slide that book into its place it’s supposed to be fine.
But it wasn’t fine and I’m left standing amongst a sea of books.
Books I forgot about.
Books I’ve never seen.
Books I used to love.
Books I never liked.
Books that aren’t even mine.
Books that I still can’t quite comprehend.
Have you ever waited so long to unpack a suitcase that you pull something out of it and go, “now what is this?”
Maybe you aquired it on that trip and forgot all about it.
I wonder how many of us are mindful about the scattered books, and forgotten items we packed inside our own emotional inventories.
Because let me tell you, I’m a packer…and today has been one heck of a moving day.
There are feelings and thoughts we jam down inside ourselves because we didn’t like them, or we didn’t think other people would like them if they saw them in us.
At least, that’s my way.
But the way my pen flowed through my letter, and the fog I’ve been in right now is evidence that forgetting to unpack is a problem.
We are the shelves, and it’s okay to hold on to our books…but we should be mindful.
Which books are too heavy to hold, which books are unfamiliar? I think a healthy shelf gets to know all of their books and decides how to hold them in a way that doesn’t lead to its own demise.
Maybe there are some books I should give away. Perhaps there are a couple of books I should share and read out loud.
Perhaps there are books that I want to keep closed, but even those I owe it to myself to take a look inside even if I don’t particularly care for the cover.
Because at the end of the day, I don’t want my shelf to fall.
I know my metaphors are a little loose here, but it’s 2 in the morning and I’m still unpacking.