It is in gloomy rain that we arrive his apartment, climb the dark and windy stairs, and stand outside the locked door. Me, the aunt- still numb with disbelief, and recently cherished one-young and stunned, stand hesitantly outside the entryway, with dread and sadness.
How do you open a door and step into someone’s life and pack it up? How do you walk on their carpet, lift up their belongings and place a value on what was, at some point, important to them? How do you pack away a person?
We breathe deep and unlock the door.
Boy mess scattered everywhere. Phone alarm blares, TV stilled on movie credits. A life interrupted. The place, the last place to give rest to weary bones and soul, is empty and normal– nary a whisper of last minutes rises to give aching hearts understanding.
We are joined in this darkest of tasks, and together we begin–though where does one begin to pack up a life? It becomes a hunt as much as a housekeeping task. We search for remnants of a life, of the essence of character and personality. We discover fragments that paint a portrait of a soul: poetic phrases scattered on cardboard like subway art, letter to sister capturing a spirit of love and brotherly shepherding, books whose spines are witness to intellectual wanderings, a closet full of clothes reflecting a definite style, work related binders that speak of effort and commitment and success, an endless treasure of music that serve as artifacts of mind and heart.
What would they find, I wonder, if it were my life that was being sorted? Amid the dishes and school bags, unfinished projects and garden tools, what would speak of me? Tucked into computer files and in drawer bottoms, what picture would come together? If I were a silent witness, watching nervously with biting lip, would I see them assemble the picture as I intended to live…or more importantly, as God intended that I live? Would who I meant to be, who I was designed to be, become obsured by the distracting details of accumulated flotsam and jetsam or evidence of errant choices? What would the book spines tell? The words journaled or trapped in cyberspace? The clothing, the movies, the depths of closets, the flat surfaces that pile? The notes scribbled?
My hope, my prayer, is that what I bring in and that which I leave behind, above all things, bears witness to Who I loved, how I loved, and my journey with Him in partnering, parenting, working, serving, in living. On my calendar I hope they find service. In photos I hope they find a joy and reverence in family, friends and nature. In the jeweled cases of CDs, I hope they find words of praise and hope. In the margins of ancient and holy words, I hope they find passion and discovery. In the endless piles of paper I hope they find good stewardship and care and respect.
Because of recent events and tragic reminders, I will more carefully examine that which I take in, and that which I leave behind.
In whatever I do, in word or deed, may everything be in the name of the Lord Jesus, with a heart of unending gratitude to God the Father through Him.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16