During these days of social isolation and facing the dark unknown of a runaway virus, Spouse and I have decided to boldly face another kind of dark unknown. Yep. We’re cleaning out our attic.
Now this isn’t just a little extra storage space created by a few sheets of nailed down plywood here. I’m talking an attic the footprint size of our entire house, like a horrifically hot second story, storing 25 years of stuff we didn’t know what else to do with.
- What to do with that old lamp that no longer works? The attic.
- Where to put six coolers of every size imaginable? The attic.
- Where did I store 36 years worth of OT paperwork and supplies? The attic.
- How about every single school science project the kids ever did? The attic.
You get the idea. Every single thing that had no other place to go went up there. I declare there’s more stuff in the attic than there is in the actual house.
A few months ago when my daughter followed me up the ladder to help lug down 16 huge boxes of Christmas decorations (I kid you not; and that’s not counting the wreaths and giant candy canes and gazillion outside lights), she declared, hands on hips, “You are not allowed to die. EVER. I refuse to be saddled with dismantling this ridiculous attic.”
So when we were handed a boatload of virus-motivated free time this week, Spouse and I thought what better way to productively spend it than to tackle this pathetically overdue venture into the abyss?
But to my surprise, there’s been a silver lining to this hot, dusty, dark cloud. In age-withered, long forgotten boxes, I’ve run across several precious mementoes from my past that I had no knowledge even existed. Or perhaps I should say ever existed.
One is a handscrawled-in-pencil-on-notebook-paper essay dated July, 1971. That means it was written during the summer after I finished 8th grade, when I was 14-years-old. I have no memory of it whatsoever and its depth flabbergasts me.
Apparently I was spending my summer trying to find myself before being thrust into the terrifying and confusing world of high school and hormones and teen angst. Here’s an excerpt from the 3-page essay:
“Me – what does it mean?
I am a girl. A not-terribly-attractive kind of girl but a quick learner.
Books make up an alarming percentage of my life. I eat them. I sleep with them. I live in them. I actually can feel emotion, all kinds, for the imaginary people who live there too. It’s odd how characters in books have some of the same traits, feelings, and thoughts that I have, but have never really thought about.
That’s probably why I enjoy a good book so much.
Makes me see that I could never be a really good arthor [my original spelling], the way one can bring out your hidden, unaware feelings.”
Wow. That just blows me away. What a prelude to an unexpected outcome. A testamony to our Creator’s power to do whatever He chooses with His creation.
I wish I could take my poor, frightened, not-terribly-attractive 14-year-old self by the hand and reassure her that Papa God’s got this insecure little girl-turning-woman in the palm of His hand.
And believe it or not, through His strength and guidance, she’ll write books one day that actually do touch the hearts of readers (if my mail is a reliable indicator).
It’s Philippians 4:13 come to life. My life. “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”
So, dearest BBFF (Blessed Blog Friend Forever), how are you grappling with our present times of the Dark Unknown?
How about in your past? And in what way did Papa God show you He had your back? I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. Just a little helpful tidbit I thought I’d pass on for these days of super sanitation … I’ve taken to reciting the Lord’s Prayer instead of singing “Happy Birthday” during my multiple hand-washing times and it’s an awesome spiritual uplifter when I need one most. I highly recommend it!
Any other useful tips you’d care to pass on to our awesome community of BBFFs? Hit us with your best shot!
Cheryl Johnston says
I love, love, love this post, Deb. And the photos, too. Especially the one of Spouse resting with his big jug of tea handy. I bet you’re feeling accomplished, too, with a clean attic and a happy daughter. What a blessing that you discovered that essay from your 14-year-old self – a prophecy unfolding. Thanks for sharing!
Not much accomplished yet, I’m sorry to say. Still lugging more and more stuff down from the attic. As soon as we get the garage cleared a little, down with the next load. What do you remember about your adolescence? Were you a writer even back then?
Janine in NJ says
What a beautiful, deep and even profound piece of writing your 14 year old self did!
And don’t we all feel that way at one time or another- too bad we cant go back to our younger selves and reassure them?
Take good care and God bless!
Thank you, Janine. I’m not sure it was profound, exactly, maybe a bit on the gloom-and-doom side from adolescent hormone tsunamis, but at least I know I’m not a prophet. What kind of adolescence did you have?
I just KNEW you were about to say you had unearthed the script you “arthored” for the audio visual presentation we did in 8th grade…remember? HA!
But this was so much better! Wow, what a treasure…you should frame it in your office! We’re cleaning closets also, but havent ventured into our attic yet, I’m thinking our kids NEED a little “pay-back” !!!
Love you much. <3
Ha! Yes, I do remember it, sorta – something about someone dying and poplar trees?? I definitely remember it made me weep, but everything made me weep during those years. We were so dramatic, weren’t we? Well, one of us still is 😀
Marsha Stephenson says
I love this post Deb! It reminds me of all the things I tell myself regarding my lack of abilities. These may not be the same thing God is saying about his plans for me. Being open to his will can overcome my lack of confidence in my own abilities:) I know this in my heart but my head gets in the way.
Good luck deciding what to do with all the material stuff. Your daughter will appreciate your effort. My husbands Dad did a great job of not leaving us with a mess. My parents house will be a whole different story.
God Bless you and stay healthy!
Well said, Marsha. Staying open to His will seems to be the key to getting anything worthwhile accomplished. He prepares the best of us and He uses the rest of us. Hug to you, sister!