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I’m in a box inside of a box, inside of a box, inside of box, inside of a box, and for all I know, inside of another box. At the beginning of my little journey, I thought it was just one box. I hated the box. I hated the dreary blank walls and being consumed with the claustrophobia that they produced. Why did I have to be in a box anyway? There was a great open world of freedom out there beyond the four walls and others were experiencing it. Why couldn’t I? It took me awhile, but I realized that I had created the box myself. It wasn’t that I wanted to live in a succession of boxes- I just wanted a little bit of the safety and protection they produced to shield me from the world. One big hurt sent me running through the first door, and after that it was all downhill. Another hurt sent me through another door and then another and still another. I got scared. Felt rejected. I was ashamed and overridden with guilt, so I went and hid. People would infiltrate my walls and I’d have to build more. Taller and thicker. They’d find there way in somehow and then once again they would hurt me, and so once again I built. I’ve been building my whole life… in the wrong direction.
I sat there in the corner of this box. It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s lonely, and I’m desperate to be free from it. The box had one small door in the very front of it. My way out. My only way out. I just knew that on the other side of that door was a great open outdoors for me. A world of joy and happiness. A world of people that would be standing there with open arms. There would be freedom past that door. I just knew it. I knew it would be hard. Going through that door would be one of the most difficult things that I had ever done in my life, but I knew it was worth it. I stood up, and crept my way to the door and stopped in front of it. I tapped it lightly with the tips of my knuckles, waiting apprehensively for any form of noise to startle me away, and send me back to the corner of my box to shrivel in fear. Nothing. I tap again, this time with a little more courage and boldness. Nothing. Once more I rap my knuckles on the hard wooden door. Still nothing. Stepping back with a measure of confusion, I cock my head to the side and reach for the knob. Surely it can’t be this easy, I think. But could it be? Could it be that my fresh outdoors lies peacefully waiting for me on the other side? Had I blown it all out of proportion? I think I have… Forgetting my fears I muster all the courage my little spirit can handle and turn the knob, yanking the door towards myself. I can’t see. Where were the birds and the sunshine? Surely this isn’t right… That door was my way out… My eyes adjusted to the light and I began to see a terrifying sight. My hopes of rainbows and running barefoot carelessly through the lush pastures vanished as my world became another box. Another box… It was bigger this time… but with more daunting doors and an array of beastly obstacles standing in front of them. Now what? What was I to do? TRY each of those doors? I had no idea what lay behind any of them. And how on earth was I to get to them? Colossal objects blockaded each door and chaos seemed to rule as all these itty bitty critters scampered about the room. God, why have you done this to me? I think. Empty promises for a wider assortment of troubles and problems? Why are you doing this, God? I set to work moving objects to get to doors and gather bravery for the fight, while I perform the task. I’m afraid of every door… There’s no telling what I’ll have to wrestle against- but I just know with everything that is within me, that behind one of those scary little doors, is my freedom. One of those doors will be my escape and I will be free from the wretched, terrible box. Each door has its battle and I finally come to the last one. Here it is, I think to myself. Here is the door that will set me free. With a burst of excitement I swing the door wide open on it’s hinges and jump…. outside? This isn’t the outside either! It’s the SAME box. This one had twice as many doors as the last one and compared to this box, the chaos from the other was minimal. There was screeching and noise and trouble beyond comprehension. What was going on??? The lighting was dim and creepy black rodents filled the space of the floor, crawling one on top of the other. The space was bigger and the doors were further away. The battles behind every door were harder than the previous and it began to appear that there would never be freedom for me. There would never be the wide openness and fresh air. Every door was a disappointment. A wider scope of problems that had been invisible to me before, and every door revealed a greater depth to all the little quirks from the first box. Every door I had hoped would lead to freedom, yet every door became my dread. I no longer desired to open doors and go through them- for fear of disappointment. For fear of facing the scarier side of things that I had not yet been introduced to. I conquered all that needed to be conquered and went through the final door, and you guessed it… it lead to yet another room, all things worse than the previous box. This time I conquered all and left the doors alone. After all the battles were conquered in this box and the questions answered, I walked past the door that led out, and sat down in the far corner of the room. I began to think about the boxes and how I always thought that there was only one last thing to do to get out of the box. I thought about how every time I thought that I would find freedom from it all, I found a more toilsome extention. I thought about how hopeless things were seeming to become, and how I would never see anything again but dark, dreary boxes with scary beasts for problems and deafening voices of protest for the rest of my life.
As I sat there feeling sorry for myself, I reached to brush a tear from my cheek before it met my chin, and I felt a part of me brush up against the wall. How odd, I thought to myself. My shoulders are too far away from the walls right now to be touching them. I looked behind me and stared in disbelief at two small wings that had begun to sprout on my back. Wings? Just what I need… Another reason for people to claim my insanity. What on earth did I need wings for?? I stood up and examined them, touching their soft little feathers and feeling the little bones. What was I going to do with a pair of wings?? A skeptical curiosity arose in me as I stood and made my way to the final door of that box. I opened it up with an inquisitive suspicion just wondering… could it be. I walked through… and…THERE IT WAS! The outdoors… I had waited so long… No… it was another box. It was a bigger box, with a plethora of doors, additional chaos, complex problems, accompanying obstacles, menacing battles, and far deeper issues.
Was I disappointed? At first, a little but I think I realized something after walking through that special door. I realized that God knew what He was doing all along. God had a master plan that I couldn’t fully see, and still don’t at times. You see, my boxes were never meant to be my dread, and opening doors wasn’t the cause of the “new” problems. The problems were there all along, but God knew I wasn’t ready for them yet. I must work in levels. The boxes aren’t meant to be a cage, but rather walls of protection from what we aren’t ready for. Protection from the things that God sees that we don’t.
What were the wings for? Well, God knew what He was doing there too. Every door that I pass through and every box that I work my way out of made those little wings sprout just a little further. They grew and grew and they’re still growing to this day… I am still in the boxes, after all… Someday, I know that there will be a door that leads to a freedom of life full of happiness and joy beyond all measure, but it’s more than what I ever wanted it to be. God knew that to. I was looking forward to a life filled with rainbows, running through pastures, splashing in the creeks and the like, but God has something so much greater. He has a whole sky for me. An entire sky free for me to soar and fly high above the clouds and storm. A sky to experience the joys of ultimate liberty in. Hence, wings. Had that very first door that I mentioned been the door that led to the free outdoors, I would have gotten so excited that I would have run full speed ahead to experience the greatness of it all. I never would have realized that I was on a mountaintop with treacherous cliffs and ravines below. I would have fallen flat on my face, but God was merciful and he led me through a process that would form me wings to fly with. What a gracious God that we serve…
Yeah, I’m still in the boxes, but I’ve got two miniature wings sprouting out of my back. They grow with every box. I know the boxes are progress and not detrimental. I get excited with each passing victory that is won, for I feel my wings stretching. Am I disappointed because I won’t see the sky for a while? No… I know that one day I will see it, and I can tell you right now that these little wings definitely aren’t enough to hold this girl up… no way. So, I’ll let patience have her perfect work, while I perform mine, as I thank God everyday for the boxes.

Becky Nichols, February 25, 2006

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