This week at my job I completed my 10th office move in seven years. The company I work for is notorious for shuffling people around as the company grows and space is at a premium. Move day is not fun. In fact move day really is move "a couple days" because you spend nearly a full day putting together boxes and packing your office up. Then once you reach your new destination another full day of unpacking your things and breaking down your boxes. I must admit it is not the most fun process in the world but it is a necessary one. I am a super clean person. While I tend to have a pretty laid back personality the one thing I'm stringent about is having my home clean and everything put away where it's supposed to be. I don't like clutter and messiness. Don't even get me started on bathrooms and kitchens. Cleanliness in these areas is a must for me (especially if guests are coming over). That same cleanliness tends to translate over to my work environment. I keep my office neat and tidy and everything in its place. I frequently get wet rags and wipe down the surfaces so it's clean and not dusty. When everything is clean it makes me feel relaxed, peaceful and calm. I've been that way since I was a little girl.
As I was packing my office belongings an odd thing happened, the more empty my office got the more dirty I realized it was. How could this be? I kept my office spotless and clean it frequently. There was no denying it though, the more empty my office became the more messy I realized it really was. Dirt was in the corners, and dust bunnies were everywhere. My white cleaning rags were turning black as I wiped down the surface of the same office I would have argued was spotless before I started to clean it out thoroughly.
In many ways I feel this with my life now. I have suffered such loss and my life has been emptied of love, companionship, hopes and dreams. I am finding out who I thought I was maybe isn't exactly who I really am. Every fear, worry and insecurity has been brought to the surface and I suddenly feel very bare. It's not a comfortable feeling. God talks about searching our heart and knowing us in the secret places. I feel that way now, emptied to the point where there's nothing left but who I truly am. In some ways I've been happy with the strength I've found out I possess and in other ways I've been disappointed at areas of weakness I never even realized I had. It's a process I'm walking through of emptying out but I know that the more empty I am the more He will pour back into me again.
Not long after I lost Joel I had a widow tell me it is such a privilege to walk the journey of widowhood. At the time I didn't understand how, in any way, this could be a privilege. Slowly but surely I am starting to get it. Yes, your life is laid bare but you find out who you truly are. Yes, you walk through the fire but you are refined through that process. Loss doesn't have to mean an "dirty, empty" office space forever. You can come through it and out of the other side a stronger you. I'm learning that more and more. It reminds me of a song I've heard recently. The chorus says "You see me and You know me and You love me through and through". He see me in my emptiness. When all is moved away and bare and the only thing that remains is who I am-He loves me still. Through it all I get to see and know Him in ways that not many do. That is what she meant by widowhood being a privilege and you know what? She was right.
Job 15:31 "...For emptiness will be his reward."