I Can't Fit You in My Box

While I'm not the world's greatest housekeeper, I do like it when things are neat and tidy. I like it when I find a box or storage container that fits my needs--a perfect plastic box with compartments to hold my many antique buttons, a crate just the right size for all my scrapbook paper, or a shelf just the right size for all of our sleeping bags. Then things can be neatly in their place, I can easily deal with them and my life feels under control.

Unfortunately, I've discovered that people are messy and hard to fit into a box. It would be so easy if I could just organize them neatly into categories so I know exactly how to deal with them in my life.

I'd have a box of extra good people--those that do everything right, who are perfectly reliable, modest, appropriate, and gentle. They never swear, they almost never miss church and say their prayers, and they're never selfish or mean. They're outspoken about what's right and they try to learn all they can. They have good manners and always say please and thank you.

I'd have a box of people who are medium good--those that occasionally swear or are inappropriate, those that sometimes don't say their prayers or their prayers are thoughtless, they skip church when they travel, they sometimes get angry or mean. Sometimes they have good manners, but sometimes they forget.

I'd have a box of bad people--those with potty mouths who dress in provocative clothes, maybe they don't pray at all and they rarely, if ever go to church. They're completely unaware of the needs of others and don't think of other's feelings at all. They never say thank you and act like the world owes them something.

Wouldn't life be easy if we could sort people into these three boxes?

But we can't. Because if we do, we'll be wrong about everyone. I haven't met anyone who does everything right.

I know someone who dresses provocatively, but she's incredibly loving and loyal to her family. She's generous and thoughtful.

I know someone who goes to church and fulfills her callings, who smiles and includes everyone, who fires off a curse word or an off-color joke.

I know someone who is generous and helpful, but rarely prays and has trouble with faith.

I know someone who is prayerful and spiritual, but is easily overwhelmed.

I know someone who would never swear or go to an R-rated movie, but they never say please and thank you.

We don't fit into boxes. The only way we can is if we pull each other apart, piece by piece and distribute the different parts in the appropriate place. And once we've done that, we've destroyed each other. And quite honestly, I'd like to keep all my parts together.

The only box we all fit in is more like the Lost and Found box. It's got a little of everything in there--the glove, the coat, the earring, the book, the keys, the friendship bracelet and the chapstick.

Hopefully what we find in that box is friends, patience, acceptance and even love.

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Mindy said...

Karey, this is a great post. Thank you.

Mindy said...

I also had to add... I am grateful that we don't all fit into boxes. It would make life a lot less interesting, and we'd learn a lot less from each other. I like that we're all different, and human, and learning.

missy said...

I'd like to keep all my parts together, too! This is some great food for thought. Thanks!

Sara said...

Great post Karey! I think your posts need national syndication in a newspaper. How exactly is that accomplished? Well done!

Rich said...


plpamlee@gmail.com said...

quite thought provoking Karey...I am always in need of trying to organize things and this has put me in my place wherever that might be..I guess the key is to find the best in others and perhaps they will do the same kind thing for us

Leslie said...

very thought provoking.

i wish we could all live that way...
we are all so quick to judge each other's weaknesses instead of loving them for their amazing qualities.

we are all guilty of it... to a degree.

good post.

Tawnie said...

What in the world? Did you come up with this on your own? Love it.
I just looked to my left and Leah is sitting in a box. And she's PERFECT!!
Love the thought in this.