“What do you think it is?” he asks the girl and boy crouching on both sides of him as all three dipped their heads lower to the leaves to get a closer look.
“Whatever it is, it looks broken,” the little girl says, poking the metal contraption with a stick.
“Probably a UFO,” the other boy answers, having remained quiet up until this point.
“It’s a box…” I tell them, coming up behind the Three Young Ones. “Or…at least it was a box.”
I take a knee beside them and pick the ramshackled piece of metal up from the casket of leaves in the ground. Weathered by the storm. Fragile.
I pick it up carefully. As if it were a broken-winged blue bird. Tiny & Delicate; It Used to Sing a Song of Mercy.
“Well that’s pretty boring,” retorts the little girl, standing to place her hands on her hips.
“You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But this box has quite the story behind it," I tell them. "Maybe you won't understand it just yet but later in life it will all make sense.
Come, let’s find a place to sit in the shade and I’ll tell you everything.”
The Tale of the Box.
The Box formed many, many years ago. Long before iPods & iMacs or iHomes & iPads. Long before "i" was anything but a letter, a way to say Me with more assurance.
Long before automobiles or poodle skirts or sewing machines. For centuries-- stacked upon one another like playing cards-- living & breathing beings have stuffed themselves into this very Box.
“But its way too tiny,” the little girl interjects. “I couldn’t even fit my baby brother in that box.”
“You have a very good eye," I say. "You see, they never got to fitting. Not a single one. They never found an angle to sit within it or a way to be comfortable between its four walls. And if you had asked them, when they were your size and just your age, if they’d ever squeeze into this Box one day, they would have told you 'No.' No, no, no.
But they got stuck. Trapped like Rapunzel High Up in Her Tower with Yards & Yards of Unruly Locks.”
“How do you get trapped in a box like that?” asks the little boy with red framed glasses.
“Good question. I can tell you that it happens very slowly at first….
A small pitter patter on the roof of the Box…
Should & Would falling from the sky.
Droplets of Mustn’t & Must
Then more robust…
Hail pellets of Cannot & Never
Disbelief. And Give Up Now. And Foolish to Believe You Could Ever Follow Your Heart.
Why Try? Too. Small. No. Good. Worth. Less.
And before long, a heavy layer of all the reasons why the Box would be the safest & smartest & most logical place to stay poured out and covered the roof. And people stopped trying to break free. Or Break Out. Or Break the Mold. Or break anything but their own heart with the sound of dreaming slamming with the door.
And they made Less Noise. And tried to take up Less Space. The Box became the very place where people learned to keep themselves holed up so that they never have to grow the Courage It Would Take to crawl out and seize the world by its lovely, lovely love handles.”
“Did you ever get stuck in the Box, miss?”
“How did you break free?” They sat on their hands. They bit their lips. They waited for an answer, a resolution of sorts.
One) My Spirits were Tattered & Torn but not beyond repair.
They could be fixed with a hammer, a few nails and some care.
Two) My dreams, still strong, had grown tired of me.
They would stand No Longer to not come to be.
They’d pack up their things and turn with a twirl,
hitch hiked the stars until they found a New Girl.
I would have spent a lifetime in that Box, or maybe even two, if I only used the carved windows for "looking purposes" and never decided they'd be my way to crawl from my own doubt and fear.
I could have spent forever with my hand to the thick glass, waiting for the voice webbed in my soul to whisper, “Climb out and join them.”
Climb. Out. And. Join. Them.
“I don’t think I’ll ever want to be stuck in that Box. It looks so tiny and lonely,” says the little girl, cringing."
“And I hope you never do get stuck in the Box. It won’t ever be much of a home. And it won’t ever make you happy. The longer you get stuck, the harder it will be to break out.
Heavier Rooftops Pile Us In as Life Goes On & On.
So go on playing today, Loving the World through Little Girl & Boy Lenses. But remember this later, if your Little Minds Can Hold It Tight: Those dreams that stir you, the ones you paint on easels today and draw in crayon tomorrow, they are precious. And one day, they will come to you and say, “I want to come true now. I am ready to come true. So now what should we do?”
And that will be the question. The question that will either put you in the Box or Break the Box Right From the Hinges before you ever try to fit a body inside.
Break the hinges from the beginning, you won’t fit inside that box.
Break the hinges from the very start; you were made for things more wonderful than this.