From A Box to A Trapezoid

It all started with a conversation about a box…

A box. It’s square, or sometimes a rectangle. The sides are straight lines, and the contents usually stay inside the lines. Boxes are great. I’ve moved a couple of times and they are very useful. But I’ve noticed that boxes are very rigid. They have little give unless an elephant sits on a box, and then it is not so useful. Boxes can also be confining…cubicles, elevators and a number of other places resemble boxes.

Have you ever noticed that people put themselves in metaphorical boxes? That was me. I grew up in a family that liked rules and routines to keep children safe. And, don’t get me wrong… rules they are great. At an early age, I learned how to live in a box. As a teenager, I developed huge anxiety… that became part of my box. Anything outside the box was not safe. As an adult, I learned that I could control utterly everything about my box. Just don’t ask me to move my box.

And so one day a friend and I compared our lives to boxes and our relationships to God. She observed that I was totally okay with changing my box (as I often redecorated it), but I never really moved it unless I was forced. That was never a pretty event.

My friend was right. I loved changing my box, but I hated it when someone changed my box for me. Or when God asked me to. That was scary because I had to place my trust in something other than myself. That was so hard. God asked me to be vulnerable, a place that genuinely terrifies me.

Now, several years later, I am happy moving and shifting the boundaries my box (and am even comfortable stepping outside of it). Changes are still hard but we are moving forward, and sideways and backwards. Thus, I joked to my friend, while I hated the idea of a box, I really was more a trapezoid. A trapezoid is quadrilateral with two parallel sides. I liked that definition. I could be that parallel, but also accept change.