There is a box I keep in the back corner of the top shelf of my closet. It is difficult to reach and for good reason. It doesn’t look like much, but it is quite a dangerous box. I try to store other things in front of it so I won’t be tempted to take it off the shelf and open it.
I used to open it often, especially when my two children were in college and away from home for the first time. Those first empty nest years were challenging. As time passes, I’m getting better at leaving it alone.
It is my “what if” box.
I made the mistake of taking it down off the shelf for a little peek a few nights before my daughter and her husband left to spend a year in Scotland. It started out innocently enough. I gently lifted the lid to look inside, when, WHAM! The lid flew open and all those “what ifs” started flying out. It was like Pandora’s box.
- their plane doesn’t make it to Scotland?
- they can’t find a safe place to live?
- they don’t make friends?
- her husband hates it and abandons her?
- she needs me and I can’t get to her?
- something happens to me and I can’t see her again?
- they decide to stay — forever?
Well, I worked myself into a blubbering mess. I cried until I could cry no more, then, I fell asleep. As it often happens, things didn’t seem so bleak when I awoke to a sunny morning. His mercies are new every morning.
I swept up all those “what ifs” and threw them in the trash. Then, I closed the lid to the box, sealed it tight, and returned it to the top shelf of my closet. Hopefully, it will remain there in the the dark recesses for a very long time.
I know what I need to do when I get myself into those anxiety-filled frenzies. It is really quite simple — get on my knees and open my Bible. There are words of truth to encourage in every situation.
I meditated on Philippians 4:8 and came up with a new set of “what ifs”
- their travel to Scotland goes without a hitch?
- they find a lovely apartment in a nice part of Edinburgh?
- old friends are able to visit them and they meet some new friends?
- their marriage is strengthened by living in a different country?
- they get to travel and see a different part of the world?
- we get to visit them?
- they are stretched spiritually?
- they love everything about living abroad for a year?
- they have the experience of a lifetime — one that they will tell their children and grandchildren about in the years to come.
As I write this, they have been in Edinburgh, for a little over a month. Many of my new set of “what ifs” have come to pass. Their travel was without incident, they have visited with two sets of friends and they found a cute little apartment with a view of the castle in the New Town part of the city (which is actually older than much of the US). My husband and I just finalized plans to visit them in December. Oh, and there’s this wonderful thing called technology. We FaceTime with them and text regularly. My favorite text so far? “Hey Mom, just wanted to let you know we’re going to London for the weekend”.
Have a great adventure with your husband, dear girl. Learn much. Soak in every detail. I’ll be stateside praying for you, trusting the Lord to take care of you and leaving that “What If” box on the shelf.