My life seems full of boxes right now. The living room is full of them. The garage is full of them. I even had a box salesperson visit me at the office today to sell me more boxes.
It’s a common mantra to “think outside the box.”
Boxes, boxes, boxes.
With all of the boxes around, including the one that we kind of define our existence with, i.e., this is my family, this is my town, this my religion, etc., there’s one box that I find myself thinking about more and more. It’s not the one full of beer.
It’s the one that will be in the closet of some relative long after you’re gone. The one that they pull out every ten years or so to remember who you were. The one that has perhaps a trinket that meant something to you so therefore they hang on to it as some sort of talisman that somehow continues to keep you connected to them. Like physical objects have some sort of magical power. They sure have a hold on us, but I’m unsure of any magic.
About a year ago I was sitting in a farm-house in the Midwest and a friend pulled out the “box” of her recently deceased grandmother. A woman who was, by all accounts, a hard-working staunch catholic woman you’d expect to find in the rural farm land of Missouri. As my friend pulled out items one-by-one from the box – there were letters, paperwork, cash among other things – I was astonished to think about who little meaning there was in these items.
Now to be honest, I don’t know what went to other relatives and I don’t know if there were more items in a different closet or anything of that nature.
What I do know is that I left that event with two thoughts:
What the hell is going to be in my box. What will people want to hold on to remember me when I’m gone. Should they hold on to anything. Will it just another box filling up there lives?
Secondly, the legacy of this woman was so much more. It was the family that was kind enough to let me stay with them for a night when I was sort of stranded. It was amazing talents of my friend that was going through the box. It was the grandchildren that sat there interested but not really understanding what that box represented and not knowing they were there because of the woman, not the things.
I left that farm-house with the thought that, I don’t wan to be remembered by stuff in a box pulled out every so often to remind people I was here.
I want to be remembered because I was here, not because of items I left behind. Some people do that through family; others through deeds. I’m still working to find my way, as I believe we all are.
What will be in your box?