When we moved to Florida and had no possibility of a basement, my garage became my catch-all for anything that didn’t have a place.
I cringed at having anyone see it. My kids learned from me that if you don’t have a place for something, throw it in the garage and think about where to put it later.
Garages are meant to house cars. That has never been the purpose of our garage. It exists to hold stuff, to contain that which probably shouldn’t be, to house things that I hesitate to throw away. A messy storage unit for the misplaced and forgotten. It’s also the storage space for our kids’ things that they didn’t necessarily want to go through.
As an act of kindness, possibly motivated by a bit of responsibility for their clutter, several of the kids decided to help us clean out our garage. To finally throw away stuff we haven’t seen or thought about for years.
The driveway became our staging area where things were placed in piles. Each child had a bin of things they wanted to keep. The biggest pile, however, was the throw-aways, things we no longer valued. We had paper receipts from fifteen years ago, trinkets we’d picked up on our various adventures, and yearbooks for all the kids. I was surprised when no one wanted to keep those memory-laden tomes. Filled with ridiculous comments and reminders of things done that they didn’t want to remember, I realized I never wanted my own kids to see my yearbooks.
What was fascinating was how the younger kids prowled through the clutter as if on a treasure hunt. Most of the grands acquired new-found valuables.
That might not have been how their parents saw it.
Apart from others helping us, I never would have tackled the garage. Too messy, too uncomfortable, too many things I didn’t want to deal with. We’ve made progress on it; we may get a car in there yet.
There are areas of my life that resemble my garage: areas of messiness I don’t want to deal with, pain that I shove further down, disappointments that I refuse to face, a conflict I’m avoiding. I hide things well with my humor and a perpetual smile that makes others think they know me.
I don’t invite many into the garage of my heart.
But Jesus is there. He sees the mess, the hurt, all that I don’t want to confront, and He tells me to give it to Him. He promises to help me deal with my junk in a way that is healthy and hopeful. He doesn’t condemn me for the mess; He fully knows what I’ve done and what I’m capable of. He’s committed to my growth because He cares for me more than I can understand.
I wouldn’t have touched our garage without help. It was more than I could do on my own. Life, in general, is a better journey with a Companion who knows the road and promises to be faithful to stay the course.
The hope of Jesus is the freedom to see and live beyond the garage.