I swear it was not planned, at least not by me. I just wrote about my new office, described my sanctuary. I didn’t get into the nitty-gritty of each item that made the cut, the thoughtful decisions of final resting places either on my window sill, the bookcase or a shelf, the absolute tyranny I wield over this space because I arranged it and it is filled with my stuff and it is mine! The less attractive details that give a peek into my ache for some bit of determination into just a bit of something, a tiny piece of control over where I at least put my own basket or cup of pencils. I have been working on letting go of what is not mine, the “give it all to God” plan that I battle with so often. That work doesn’t include my office. The pottery that sits on my desk, I want that just off to the right where my eye catches it every time I reach for my coffee. It reminds me of Janet who brings honesty and grace into my life, sees my brokenness and has never shied away. The picture of my brother and I when we reached Colorado, I want to see it each morning and remember I can do hard and uncomfortable things and be rewarded with amazing insights into God’s creation. The pieces of twine, fraying snips of string, those are my reminders of connections to friends from back home, back when, who stand with me and for me with love, women far away but who can be reached with just a tug. Another picture is off to the left, where my politics and a deep friendship from college have settled, a drawing from an art fair that captures my faith and this friendship. It reminds me the artist knew my daughter, back when. No random objects here, nothing buried under a hoarding mess. My office is an exquiste time capsule, not fancy surely, but all a reflection of me and my life travels.
Then Plum came to visit. He didn’t know he was intruding, he didn’t know he was supposed to stay out or knock first on the slightly opened door, he didn’t know that the books were arranged on shelves by topic and size. He only knew this room was most recently his play area and his gran was now in it and his gran delights in all that he does and … can you see that it really wasn’t his fault? Yet I grew tense, I suggested we play out in the living room, I offered that maybe Grandpa wanted to play a game with him. Even more appalling, he brought a laundry basket overflowing with several of his closest stuffed friends, dumped them out on my floor then proceeded to develop an elaborate storyline of how each one was finding this space welcoming. Certainly not the vibe I was putting out. Introductions were made at his insistence then animals read books, colored pictures, climbed the ladder in the corner, scoured the globe, two rather shy ones joined up for a game of hide and seek on the shelves. I am ashamed to admit that at first I was quite twitchy, I only noticed that MY stuff was invaded and jostled and messed up. I left for a minute, screamed in a whisper to Chef, returned with a resigned attitude, ready to ride it out while I tried not to keep checking the time. I sat on my hands while I plastered a smile on to avoid grabbing each toy and throwing them back into the basket and right out the door. How long before I could shut this playdate down?
I almost missed it. So very close to clenching my teeth right over the joy of this child sharing his stories in my writing room, realizing that he was arranging his specials as he created his words as well. Oh dear God help me break out of my rigidity! This world belongs to our Father first, we claim it as our own with lines drawn on paper, we erect our shelves, arrange our specials and create our stories in the space God created, as if we really did something, forgetting just like Plum in my office space, He was here first. I almost missed that my Plum was copying me, he was setting up a space to then share his words. How could I hold so tightly to my room that I didn’t want to nurture his storytelling?
Thankfully I got the nudge that comes with being open to God first thing in the morning, He reminded me that this room is not really mine, that these objects are memories of my own nurturance and empowerment. He reminded me that the most importance room in my world is the one in my heart for this child. I took some deep breaths, I allowed an elephant to tromp across my desk and a rabbit to frolic on my shelves. A giraffe read a book, a frog climbed the ladder while a dog and a bear shyly found each other and played hide and seek. The moose gardened and the panda explored the globe. Soon they all packed up and left, except the shy friends. Plum decided they were most comfortable now with me and were choosing to stay. He said they enjoyed how I shared with them and felt more at home here rather than up with all the other animals.
I have two new objects in my office, hints to be softer, more inviting, ready to cuddle when the rare chance comes. Two blue scuffed up toys that remind me I wasn’t here first no matter how much I try to claim this space. I am a visitor also, I have to knock first too. God opened the door for me to see His world, the real perfect garden He created in my soul. All of this belongs to God, all of me is His. Will I shut the door, arrange my stuff and sit quietly to reminisce or open myself up to new stories and visitors and the charming sounds of a six year old who teaches me about flexibility and finding new friends?
I like my stuff just how it is, I bet God arranged His garden just as He wanted as well. We are all guilty of making a mess of it, yet He keeps the door open for us, allows us to enter freely and with forgiveness, we get to bring our scruffy friends and tell our stories and rearrange His people and move His creatures. It seems the further I run into my own space, the more I realize the journey is where I see God, not in the destination of my own little territory. Surely I can follow His example and open my heart room for a few more visitors. Some may even choose to stay.