My Gammy is not dead yet. But she has already left me part of my inheritance to discover, all contained in a plastic storage tote she calls, “Sarah’s Treasure Chest”. The container could be less alluring, I suppose, despite its lid cracked in one corner and its generic organizer label written upon in my grandmother’s cursive. I could be a weathered, mildew-stained cardboard box. But the contents and their recipient are far more important to her. Contained, I found oversized Life magazine issues from the 50s and 60s, documenting the lunar landing and whatnot. These were of mild interest to me, and are less so after finding a silverfish in its folds. Also found were Easter bunny figurines and collector’s plates, which I moved to the Goodwill box, and other assorted decor she must have thought I would enjoy in my own, adult home (yet to be seen). I stored away the teacups, each different with their various flowers, away for that later life. I deposited the collector’s state quarters, which are regular quarters anyway, into my adoption money vase. And I found a music box she had never showed me or told me about, that I remember.
Immediately, I noticed the design, which seemed Italian. Definitely interested, I cranked the knob, hearing the gears, but no music followed. I tried opening the lid, realizing it was jammed or locked. Did she really give me a music box I couldn’t open, one in which I couldn’t hear the music? It’s been sitting on my desk for weeks, looking pretty, and occasionally pestered for a moment by my hand.
Meanwhile, I’ve been listening to Jeff VanVonderen’s talk, “Wounded by Shame, Healed by Grace”, lent CD by CD to me from Ray. CD six was my guide today. Within the tracks, Jeff VanSchmillichvichen (or whatever pseudo-German name Ray and I think of in the moment) explained some theology I had heard numerous times, but had never heard in his words, which I summarize: we can do nothing to be filled with the Spirit. We can block being filled by some part of the ego, but we cannot make ourselves filled. His words affirmed that I just need “to be”. I can block my connection with “the Source” (the Holy Spirit) by relying on “resources” (relationships, people, material things, ideas, etc.) provided by “the Source” by making those “resources” my Source; in other words, making something else my god, my source of peace, love, joy, etc. will leave me empty.
Realizing this, by the end of the disc, I was full. Just be. Anxiety and depression itself can so often be my “Source”. I can allow it to preside over my being, allowing it to be my excuse for the way I feel. Instead, it should be a resource I use to bring me back to “the Source”. Feelings are neither good nor bad. Instead, how we feel can give us insight into how we can live our lives. My feelings of anxiety and depression can give me insight into how I can live joyously, with love, with freedom. If I can recognize the feelings and remember what they do to me, I can fight them.
However. When I’m feeling low and hopeless, I most often don’t have enough fight in me. I may survive the attack, but I’m left wounded, and I don’t allow time and presence with my Creator to heal me. More thoughts swarm in the near space ahead like bees in a desert sand storm, and quickly my wounds open again, filling with sand and stings of the past and anxiety for the future. The wounds begin to close, as our bodies and spirits are trying constantly to heal, but another swarm lies ahead.
Jeff VonderVanMichten helped me open the box. By listening to his words, my spirit has begun to open up to the music locked away inside of me. Within my spirit is the fight I need. It’s the Source of my hope, and it will heal if I only allow.
That was revealed this afternoon, and now a refreshing view is before me, the hopeful feeling still lingering like incense in a temple just rebuilt.
I sat down to compose some sort of post for you here. I touched the top of the box, an upraised diamond shape catching my fingers. I pulled it toward me and it slid over with a wooden click. And the box was opened. The music plays with the rough vibrations of its contents: a cotton swab liner, some safety pins, sewing pins, a button, a dime, a newspaper clipping, a purple and yellow flowered handkerchief that smells like the wood-working in Gammy’s former house, and a note:
This music box was brought to me from Europe in about 1958. I lived and taught school in Mentor, Ohio and lived with two other (teachers) girls. One of which made a trip to Europe that summer (1958). The tune is “The Isle of Capri”, which was a popular song back in my day!
Inside you’ll find a handkerchief that belonged to your great grandmother, Ruby Thompson (Papa Thompson’s mother). Her obituary will tell you all about her – you are one of the 17 great-grandchildren listed there.
The music slows to a scratching, softly clattering halt. Discoveries are always to be had, even when we think every treasure box is locked, and the music continues, our spirit song plays, even when we are out of turns.