When I make my to-do lists, I precede each item with a little, hollow box. When the task is completed (the letter sent, the laundry folded, the post written) I take great delight in filling in the little box with ink.
I like the way my paper looks with a flush-left column of neatly filled-in boxes.
I use a certain pen and have a special little hardbound notebook just for all my lists.
Sometimes I browse through lists from months ago just to see how much I’ve accomplished. I’m a little bit crazy.
I bet you have a system, too. Maybe you are an old-school check mark person. Or perhaps you are more of a bold list-maker and like to completely cross-through your finished tasks. Whatever your system looks like, I would venture to say that it has one goal: completion.
I was talking with a friend who mentioned she was glad a certain tumultuous relationship had ended, but now she just wanted some closure. I began to consider the word, the idea of closing up a relationship, or of bringing it to an ending that is satisfying and makes sense. I think of tightening the lid on the jar and putting it away, of taping up the box and storing it in the attic, of coloring in that little, hollow box on my to-do list.
Is closure really possible when it comes to relationships? I would prefer that to be true, because closure implies that I will no longer have to deal with the thing I have closed. I’m not saying some aspects of closure aren’t needed and even necessary in the ending of relationships. But more often what we really seek is healing.
Healing is messy and fluid and often unpredictable. I can’t manufacture my own healing. It usually takes longer than I think, runs deeper than I wished and involves more areas of my life than I ever imagined. But once I come through it on the other side, healing not only offers the closure I thought I wanted, but it comes with a wholeness, wellness and restoration that closure lacks.
But I can’t heal myself. I need a Healer, someone to stand on my behalf against my past, against the pain and disappointments of broken relationships, against any fear of trusting in the future. I’m so glad I have Someone.
“Who will rise up for me…? Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul would soon have settled in silence. If I say, ‘My foot slips,’ Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” (Pslam 94:16-19 KJV).
by Emily, Chatting at the SkyLeave a Comment
Your words are heartfelt, simple and necessary. Our Someone, the Healer, Comforter,and Creator makes the closure easier to bear. He brings joy during the times we may want to bring that box back out of the attic.
The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy. Psalm 16:3
Thank goodness, we’ve all found the healer. I know I am more whole knowing he’s there loving me. As I feel that love wash over me, once again I feel the healing reach deep into my soul. More eddies of trust swirl around my heart, and I feel deeper healing begin.
Here’s my evidence of a goal of completion: I write things on my to do list after I’ve done them just so I can check them off. So much easier to appreciate the work of the day when it is written and crossed off!
Marilyn Yocum says
“I use a certain pen…” Hahahahaha. I love a person who will admit that out loud.
Too often, craving closure, we rush past healing…and settle for less.
It’s messy, though. And courage is needed.
“I am the LORD, your Healer.” – Exo. 15:26
He can do it!
Sarah Dakin Hansen says
You know what my favorite part of reading this was? That I recognize the handwriting on the to-do list. Wonderful thoughts, Em.
What a beautiful post. I also follow my to-do lists with hollow boxes. Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly unproductive, I write down things I’ve already completed just so I can check it off my list.
We are so blessed to have a healer, a creator, a Father.
Boy Crazy (@claritychaos) says
Oh, Emily. Even though I’m not even close to being a list-maker, I still love this. 🙂
I never thought about it that way – that really it’s healing, not closure that we need. Looking back at past experiences and relationships with this thought in mind brings a whole new clarity to the situation. Honestly – one jumped to mind immediately.
Thank you for the new perspective.
Mmmm, hmmm…that’s right. Thank you!
“It usually takes longer than I think, runs deeper than I wished and involves more areas of my life than I ever imagined.”
i am finding that even in the hard healing God is gracious. in hind-sight i’m always grateful he walked me through it, healing every part, through and through. oh but it is hard.
Emily – how wonderful to see you here! Your words are simple, clear, and from God. Thank you
Thank you for those beautiful, uplifting words!
Thank you for sharing this insight. I completely agree. The word closure makes it sound like I could potentially do it on my own – shut it out, cover up that wound with other things. But healing, that word clearly directs me to release control and trust the only One who can really heal.
Dawn Bryant says
Wow. I so needed this perspective tight now. God used you to speak into my life. Thank you for letting Him use you…
I love my notebooks 🙂 And I loved your insight! Hugs!
tiny twig says
i was just reading another blogger’s perspective on this–although, of course, i don’t remember who now! guess God is trying to get my attention about it, huh? 🙂 well done!
I’m not a list maker, but i can see that you are at the top of the ‘list maker’s’ list.
Very neat and attractive.
I’m a word lover though, and will write words just to be writing words. So, who’s the crazy one? You, who make list to show you’ve accomplished something? Or me, who writes words just to be writing words? Hmmmmmm….