When I'm trying to remember something, I imagine my mind as a cluttered attic, full of stacks of unlabeled and practically identical boxes. So I open them at random, trying to find something recognizable that might have been packed away with it. Oh, look, here's that Within Temptation album! I got that about a week before I heard that sermon, so those notes must be somewhere nearby.
Given any sort of block of solitude, I try to sort through the boxes, repacking important things more carefully and throwing out junk and disused or worn items (er, ideas). That's what I've been doing for the past few months, and for a long chunk of that I've been in the middle of a particularly nasty layer. The kind of boxes that have been stacked in the back of some manky old shed for who-knows-how-long, and have just as much dirt and bugs and mouse nests in them as anything else - except, because this is a figurative attic, these were full of depression and lostness and anger and internal suppression, which are much more insidious and harder to exterminate.
Just going through them has had a negative effect - like I've become a conduit through which everything must pass on its way out. But yesterday, I unpacked that last of those boxes, and found in it the incident that tipped into the mess to start with: a hat. It was the sort of green that I love, my first cabled project, and because it was square across the top, it created ears when worn. Now it exists only in my memory, because just after getting it back from an art show it had been a part of, I wore it on an outing with friends, and one of them (who did not deserve the weight I gave to their words) mocked it. I never wore it again, and ended up giving it away not long afterwards.
But that marked the first time that I ever sacrificed something I cared for deeply for the sake of someone else - sadly, it was not the last. Once I'd established the habit, it became harder and harder to break, until I didn't even realize I was doing it any more. Now, I realize that love requires sacrifice - but not this kind of sacrifice. Because it's one thing to wash away muddy selfishness, and entirely another to break up the foundation poured into your very heart, the one with God's own handprints in it, and throw it away piece by piece, simply because someone else doesn't like your floorplan. Their opinion doesn't matter - only His does.
So I cast on for another hat - just a simple version of the long-lost green - as a reminder that what God has placed in the middle of me is for His glory, and is not intended to be given to anyone but Him.
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