Boxes of spiders and love and trash too

Sometimes, I just don’t know what I want to say… Actually that is a lie.

When I use the ‘don’t know,’ excuse, I am really just choosing not to decide. I may be straddling and momentarily caught between ideas or commitments, but mostly, I am unwilling to go ahead and make a choice.

Yesterday I had lots of little moments caught in-between decisions. I had a couple options in front of me, and I somehow found the strength to just pick one way or the other.

I was doing the mundane task of cleaning out my garage. It is an ordinary thing that a lot of people do, I get that. I know there are some storage places, that we all have, that we let accumulate and pile up with stuff. Mine is no exception.

I used to use my garage for partying and playing and hosting and good times. A lot of the ‘stuff’ in there remains just as we used it, years ago, in the partying dayz. Yesterday, I had a lot of little moments, looking at a dust covered object, and making a choice to trash it, save it, or sell it. I made progress and some trash, and lots to save and a little to sell.

Steve Chandler is a guy, who I remember saying, “How you do some things, is how you do everything.” Well if that is true, then my garage can tell me a lot about how I am living my life as a whole. I have a detached space, where old memories are held on to. I have left many of them alone in a corner for years and years. I have held onto things that are of no use to me anymore. I have saved items that did one day come in handy. I have tools, that are rarely pulled out. I have spiders, and spiders, and spiders among it all.

I used to use my garage, and my life for inviting people and having fun, I didn’t have much, but I wanted to share it all. I wanted people to join me at any given moment. I wanted to always keep the party going. I really never wanted that to end.

Now it is different. The party-garage has only hosted one party in the several years, a three person bible study, one night a couple winters ago. I don’t do much in there anymore, but store some junk, and we park a car inside. In a way, so many parts of me are just existing there, where they always have, but getting dustier and older by the day.

Until yesterday. I swept. I loaded up trash cans and big boxes. I climbed the ladder and brought some things down. I climbed again, and put more things back up. I “didn’t know” where to start, but somewhere I just began to move stuff, making a bigger mess than it was, then slowly finding new places. I took the time to re-imagine how I wanted my space to look, I let go of old items, that don’t serve me.

All week long I have been heartbroken and saddened about a tragic event that happened for the family of one of the members of our church. Hailey and John and their family lost two precious children in a car accident on Monday. Wow. I cannot imagine what they are going through. I feel for them. I know God has a plan, but really that would be too hard to see, for me, for them, for anyone looking at their world right now. My heart and my prayers go out to all of you.

In our own family, 31 years ago, we lost someone important. My Dad passed away unexpectedly, tragically. I know that from my point of view, at four years old, there were things I never understood about that event. There were ideas or questions or hurts or angers or longings or tears that became parts and pieces on the shelves of my life. Just like my dusty detached garage, I had spaces where the few memories and all the pain just piled up and collected dust. I probably was a hoarder, remembering every sentence ever uttered about him. Collecting every detail of emotion about moments without him. This place is no party garage at all.

I hope I am the only one like this. I hope not everyone who goes through tragedy in life, and almost everyone does, does it like me. I have not taken the time and energy to decide and choose and clean out my garage, often enough. I don’t ever want to just junk all the memories and the love and appreciation for what was. I know though, that I let it pile up too high. I let the good stuff, get jumbled together with the bad. I had such a mess that it seems to be too big of a chore, to ever get around to working on it.

Somehow, over the years it has gotten better. I have matured and life has expanded beyond just the one tragedy that I used to define myself by. Thank God. There is a whole world outside my little dusty and spider infested garage. There is an expanse of possibility, that I can explore. My garage is a protected space, the stuff there isn’t going anywhere. I can lock it up and go to work. I can shut the door and go about my life. I don’t have to live only inside there. In a healthy way, I can revisit and take a day off, to work on it, from time to time. I need to remember to make it a habit, to work on the upkeep, but it does not define the whole of me.

I found lots of smiles, as I cleaned things up yesterday. I found the evidence of fun times. I remembered how much energy and thought, and enthusiasm I have, when I put myself wholly into an endeavor. Even like throwing a party in a dinky dusty garage. Nobody wanted to make it more fun and more special to everyone, than I did.

I am glad to have a place in my life, to go and smile and remember that too…


Aaron Nichols




2 thoughts on “Boxes of spiders and love and trash too

  1. G’pa and me did almost the same thing you did to your garage — sort and load
    all of our recycle stuff into our little car. My memories always take me back to
    the days when you Aaron, all of 11 years old, encouraged us to start recycling.
    We have been deligent about this ever since. It is a shared time with other
    folks who seem so proud to contribute to the fund that is raised by bringing in
    “trash” to turn it into dollars to do good things for the community as well as make
    the garage or storage look better and save our landfills!! Thanks Aaron, and
    along with recycling trash we change our way of life. Blessings!! G’son.

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