Boxes, Labels & Blurred Lines

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Jacqueline Cornell was born in southern West Virginia, in the heart of coal country. Her family moved to Upshur County in 1974, and she grew up living and loving West Virginia. After a four-year enlistment in the Navy, she returned and raised her children in Buckhannon, and Cornell says, she “will take her last breath inhaling ramps and rhododendrons.”

I, recently, had a discussion with an old love about the word compartmentalize. We all have a need to put things in our lives in order. Some like every aspect to be in tidy little boxes. Some of us are obsessively organized. Others, messy hoarders of our things and even ideas about life, ideals, perhaps.

The conversation began because I had seen a post asking if a Facebook opinion or meme had ever changed your mind or heart on a subject, and I realized we are all just amateur editorial writers with passion and very tiny research budgets. All of us want our voices to be heard. None of us want to listen. So, we pack our beliefs, our fears, and our desires away in boxes, compartmentalizing our lives, making it easier to accept disappointment, hatred, and cruelty.

At this point, we break out the Sharpie marker and start labeling the boxes.  Sins that are forgivable go in those white boxes, dear. My ex-husband’s stuff goes in that burn box, and you can put your childhood memories in the fire safe box.  It’s all neat and tidy.

Baloncici ©123RF.com

What’s the color of the storage unit, the value of your investment in the said containers? How durable is it? What is the life expectancy of an imaginary tote? Maybe, we need to build a better storage facility, with Fort Knox level security, where we can lock away hopes and dreams — the pursuit of happiness and peace in our time. We might as well throw the Bill of Rights in there with its inconvenient amendments that we don’t want to share with the human who uses the brown boxes.

Make sure there are plenty of blue boxes for all the fallen police officers’ belongings. Yellow ribbons to identify our soldiers coming home to us go in those boxes. Let’s use pretty pink packaging to discern the boxes with female issues and rainbow resplendent stickers to acknowledge the brighter and more flamboyant boxes. We’ll use gun metal gray boxes lined with soft white satin pillows to contain what we bury so deep. The black box in the corner? Oh, just leave that one out. What’s inside? Nothing. No hope would fit, so I let it gather dust.

I put all my faith in that white box over there. My prayers are with the blue and yellow boxes. I made a donation to help those brown box issues. Damn, I feel better, like a weight has been lifted. Maybe, I need to open a pink box and pay attention to the contents, take a picture with that one rainbow box to show I am supportive. Do not touch the blue or red boxes until November! It’s all very neat and tidy.

So, the way my mind works, I went to the other side.  I decompartmentalized. I merged back together, made cohesive. Epiphany. The lines need to be blurred. There is a soldier on duty somewhere today that voted for Hillary Clinton. There is a Mexican American who still supports Donald Trump. Somewhere, in America, a gay Muslim is making your espresso.

Me? I am just over here on the recycled boxes pile. I broke them down so I could make more room for new ideas. I am trying not to judge anyone, ever, for anything. I’m trying. We all judge. We all play jury in our minds, but we need to stop before the execution stage. We need to think. We need to educate ourselves. We need to let God handle judgement. We all need a reality check.

Suddenly, I really want a box of donuts. I will take the mixed variety, baker’s dozen, please. Also, a strong cup of coffee. There is work to be done.