Sharing a little about my house of memories, and then your gentle encouragement to address that dark room gave me that extra push I needed to finally venture in where I had banned myself from going for more than fifteen years.
I wandered in through the first two rooms, pausing a little at the wall of little shields. I looked at several and I could feel my courage slipping. Why bother continuing on to that dark room when I have so many other memories I could focus on instead?
A noise distracted me though as a box tumbled down over the wall and I discovered just how cowardly I really am. It felt as if I couldn't breathe, and a dull panic seemed to press in from every side as I forced myself to go pick up that box and instead of flinging it back into the dark room like I have been doing for years and years I slowly opened it turning my head slightly in hopes the full impact of the contents wouldn't hurt quite as bad if I didn't look at them straight.
I allowed the memory to play back. It was ugly, but somehow it didn't hurt as bad as I thought it would. I closed the box and set it on the floor, I would be brave I told myself, I have to be. Part of me was still screaming to run the other direction, but the other part was telling me it's time to do this.
I opened the door and like I expected a flood of boxes came tumbling at me. I reached for the nearest one that had landed by my feet and opened it. The contents weren't what I expected at all. Instead of a clear full memory, only a few dried up specks of something rattled in the corners of the box. Having been closed up so long they had dissolved and disappeared, the only trace that there used to be something awful there were those few specks and a lingering bad smell. I tossed the box into the garbage and went to pick up the next. I was surprised as box after box came up basically empty. There were a several piles of boxes that still held ugly things, but somehow having discovered all the empty boxes I found I was brave enough to make myself watch as the contents played themselves for me in a sort of detached way. A way that I realized that these things I had been blocking for so many years no longer had power over me. I had been afraid I would feel the same burning hatred I used to, but that was totally gone.
I went through the entire room, and when I was done I knocked down the walls. It's no longer necessary to have it. The boxes that still had contents have been stacked in a corner of the shadowy room. Strangely they also changed their color, instead of black they're now various shades of gray. They still hold ugly things, but they no longer cause the blinding, choking, pain when I see them. I realize that these will probably never dry up and disappear like so many of the others in that room did, but they also no longer hover in the background threateningly like they had previously.
When the last thing was cared for I wandered back out to the wall of shields. Maybe the reason they are in shapes of shields is because he really did love me in his own way and did the best he knew how. I allowed a few to open, and I knew I did the right thing all these years choosing to only allow my children to see these manipulated shields, to only see the good things.
My life is better than I ever imagined possible while I was growing up and all those dark memories were being made, I might share some of how God was directing my path even then. Truly He gives beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning. Above and beyond what I ever dreamed possible.