The Gift Of An Empty Box

vintage boxes

"Don't let people who like to keep things in pretty boxes keep you from experiencing everything about your own life." - Sandi K.

My grandma is a woman I've adored my whole life.  As a young girl I spent lots of time with her and even still, many times throughout the year I throw a few things into a bag, wave goodbye to my responsible grown up life for a few days, and head to grandma's.

It's always been a place of comfort to me, and now even to my own children. Because she is there. And something about her being me just makes me feel safe.

My love for grandma's house that it has nothing to do with the home itself. To be frank, it's a like museum of beautiful things, all hidden and tucked away. The rooms of her home are filled to the brim with dusty boxes filled with countless amounts of beautiful possessions that will likely never be seen or used until one day when she passes away.

I have never understood it.

I've often asked her about this. Her reply is always the same.

"Well, I don't want to take them out and use them and mess them up! I like my things to stay new."

You see, when I buy something I like, or receive a gift from someone, I rip into it as soon as I get it home and use the heck out of it until every last drop is fully spent!

She has never loved that about me. I chuckle as I listen to her scold my own children over how readily they rip open and get to work getting the very most possible use out of every thing they receive.


I wonder how many lives are just like the beautiful, dusty boxes that fill my grandmother's house.

Unopened and set in a lonely corner of a room as if it is truly possible to preserve the best of a life.

Just like a beautiful box is meant to be, our lives were meant to be opened up, let out, and lived. Fully - sometimes with abandon. And yes, this means it will get used and worn, maybe possibly even damaged and destroyed. But what good is a life so safely preserved and tucked away out of fear that the richness of all that it could have been was never discovered or experienced?


And so, she walks past closet after closet of brand new attire, still with tags on them, on her way to find the thread to patch the holes in her worn out old clothes. Decades of gifts from her children and grandchildren are never enjoyed because she will not free them of the beautiful boxes in which they came. Every morning she misses out on the beauty of waking to the lovely site of a life-time of treasures she's collected from her love of antique stores and estate sells. All because she's afraid. Afraid that she will lose that which she doesn't even allow herself to experience.

Sometimes I wonder if she thinks she will be able to take it all with her when her time here is done. No, the time will have come and gone, and all that went unseen and un-lived will never be known.

Truly, it is one of the saddest things to me. Too many live out their entire lives this way.

But me, I believe I'll choose a different path.

One in which I savor every drop of beauty in all that surrounds me and all that is in me. One day when my life ends and dear one's gather around, I want them be able to say that I lived fully, that I sucked the marrow out of life and got everything good it had to offer, leaving nothing behind. That I wasn't afraid to risk it all, maybe even fail and lose a few times. That I was partial to new adventures and never said no to a chance something good might come of it. That I loved with abandon, and chose to forgive - over and over again. That I understood that loss is a part of life, never letting that truth keep my heart from embracing and loving fully - even if only for a short time anyways.

I want to leave behind a spent life that was loud and full and alive. One that inspired others to live their own story more fully and passionately. That my life and my words so alive and rich, boldly awakened a world all too easily lulled to sleep like the silent, dusty boxes stacked in rooms with closed doors.


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