The secrets and shame that lay hidden behind the door to my closet are without number. To clarify that statement, I am very hard on myself with regards to maintaining order. When friends or family come to visit, I will show them any room of the house they want to see. . . except the closet. I have stuff in there. Perhaps you have a different location for the private things in your life. My closet is my hiding place.
Bravery won out, and I have included a photo of said closet. Professional organizers beware! Psychologists, have a field day at my expense here.
My natural instinct would be to tidy everything up before I took the photo. Please take notice that I organize everything according to both a color scale and the appropriate season. If I were trying to present the ‘perfect’ image of myself – the one I want you to have of me – there wouldn’t be a shoe lying haphazardly about without its mate. A more truthful image would also reveal my addiction with purses and shoes. I would want to draw your attention to that lovely red coat (my best bargain ever!), but please disregard that canvas I have yet to complete. Oops, I forgot to hang up a blouse. Do me a favor and mark that out with a sharpie.
Isn’t life like that sometimes? We want people to see our best side, and we try to hide the messiness of life on a bottom shelf.
I attended a funeral several years ago that left an indelible mark on my conscience. It was for a young man, single, who lived alone. He was an educator. He died instantly, with no indication that morning that it would be his last. That is not the end of the story about his life.
His closet told the real story of his life.
His sister shared the following dialogue with me. Some well-meaning friends approached the family. Who would go into his house first? They got down to the nitty gritty, the brutal honesty of what might lie ahead. Perhaps the family didn’t really know him as well as they hoped. What unknown details lay hidden behind the socks? There might be things. There might be stuff. Secret stuff. You know about the stuff – the stuff that you intend to hide or discard some day before someone finds that stuff. Everybody’s stuff is different. Most people have some stuff that they wouldn’t want exposed without their permission or approval.
The family was confident they would not find any unwanted papers or photos, there were no secrets lurking in his closet. ‘Search completely, go through everything. He had nothing to hide. We won’t have any surprises.’
There wasn’t any ‘stuff’ in his closet. What a testimony of his life. His closet revealed a life of integrity.
“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a washtub or shoves it under the bed. No, you set it up on a lamp stand so those who enter the room can see their way. We’re not keeping secrets; we’re telling them. We’re not hiding things; we’re bringing everything out into the open.” – Luke 8:16, 17, The Message