Don’t Box Me In

Down in the cellar, on the second shelf from the bottom, sits a cardboard box I like to call, “The Scott Box.” In it are all the keepsakes I’ve saved since we first met. The hockey puck he shot into the stands in Buffalo. The mesh tea bag he bought me in Syracuse, persuading me to keep our date at an off-campus coffeehouse, even though I don’t drink coffee. The cassette (yes, I said cassette) he recorded for me the summer my parents split up, when he and I were miles apart, and I really needed his sense of humor and evidence that love still lived among us.

At the bottom, beneath the ticket stubs, pressed petals, and pictures of young lovers, are his letters, written to me in horrible handwriting but with a tender heart. I blush when I read them now, much like I did back then, turning crimson at the sight of his inked intentions, his devotion so clear – even in chicken scratch – from the very start. My letters to him aren’t as easy to find. There’s no “Megan Box” to speak of, but that’s okay. Scott likes to live in the present, and presently, my affection for him is written all over the walls of our home, deeply etched in the faces of our children and the wrinkles in mine.

I’ve got his box out now, and I’m looking through the memories, searching for the sentiments, because that’s what I do sometimes when he’s out of town and the rooms feel empty, or when I need to connect our middle to our beginning so we won’t come to an end. And that’s when I come across another box containing other intimate letters written over decades of time, private conversations between a young-girl-turned-woman and the Author of her life. Maybe I should call it, “The God Box.”

No one has ever read these journals before, not even Scott, though I’ve invited him to when I thought it might help him understand me a little better. I expose my buck-naked heart in most of them, carving words out of the tender places in my life, and as I sit here looking at them, notebooks full of devotions and prayers, I’m tempted to keep them in this box, hide them in the darkest corner of the house, and hope that no one ever sees them.

But, like the things in The Scott Box, these letters are precious to me and they serve a purpose, too. They prove that, yes, I’m a hot mess most of the time. But they also testify to a woman in love, captivated by the One who still woos her with his Word, regardless of her shortcomings. And that’s why I have to share them. Not because I enjoy being vulnerable or because they’re beautiful works or art.  I don’t, and they aren’t. But I know there are other women out there — women who yell at their kids too much, who sometimes ache with loneliness, and who worry about paying for piano lessons. Women who don’t have it all together and who could use a little hope from time to time. Women a lot like me.

So, every Wednesday this summer (as part of a book club I’m doing with a woman I heart like crazy) I’m going to rip the lid off The God Box and share my deepest, most personal thoughts with you, dear Internet.  I hope they encourage you to believe you are loved, too, and not alone.

As for the romantic letters from Scott?  Sorry, those are going back in The Box. He’s coming home tonight.

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