“The Container Store”

WESOpened for three weeks, the store is packed with people like me on a cloudy Saturday afternoon.  Loads of people in need of containers to contain their stuff at home; stuff that’s not use a lot… like that mother-in-law gift or something that’s important to you but you can’t remember what its importance is anymore.  (How much stuff can we stuff?)

The first thing that I noticed is that the store is packed with stuff and more stuff but it’s empty.  Empty.  There’s nothing in the container store but empty stuff.  And folks around me are excited about viewing empty stuff.  “Look mom, this could hold that thing that you have in your closet,” says the awakening young daughter to her mother.  For she know now that she lives in a country that sells empty things to be filled with things are already living within your homes.   All sizes of empty containers are staring at you, to be purchased by you to place already purchased things within it.

There are even very large empty containers to place purchased things so you are able to place them in your storage vault that you purchase on a monthly basis to contain those things that you need to keep because “this or that” may creep up in your unforeseen future (which is redundant, by the way) and you’d be left without the “that or this.”   But alas.  We are safe now because we have our very own “Container Store” located right next to Mayfair Mall.  So, you see all those things we now buy at Mayfair Mall now have a place for themselves.  We buy at the mall and then walk over to “The Container Store” to buy something to hold them in.

“Under the bed containers” for $35.00 amused me the most because that’s the last place crooks will look after grabbing our 72″ flat screen TV and laptop.  What’s in those containers under the bed?  Sweaters, gloves preparing for Wisconsin’s long and even longer winters?  During wintertime do those hidden-under-the-bed containers contain bathing suits and t-shirts that yearn for you to let them out?  “Please let me out, let me out!” says the bathing suits and t-shirts.

Containers of every kind fill shelves and more shelves and rows and more rows.  (For a store that sells empty objects it is amazing how many there are.)  All of these containers are empty now waiting for you to fill them up with those necessary things that are rarely used (read that phrase once more please) but need to be contained and then re-contained somewhere within your home.

Shelves are also for sale but I don’t consider a shelve a “container.”  A shelve holds or houses things but it does not contain them.  You can, however, place a container on a shelve.  I meant to speak to the manager about this corporate oversight but she was busy explaining this store to fellow neophytes.

The pope’s eleventh commandant was not a joke, “If you don’t use it, see it or need it in six months – then give it to the poor.”

It seems we are able to contain the stuff we use and the stuff we barely use but wouldn’t you agree that we have difficulty with the stuff of our lives we seem unable to contain.  Such as past pains, hurts, regrets, setbacks, remissions and regressions.  (I’m a priest, where did you think this was leading?)

“A place for everything and everything in its place,” my 8th grade nun told us repeatedly.  At 12 years old it didn’t mean much but her words have echoed.  She was probably referring to dirty socks when we got home from playing but I’m referring now to all the mishaps, misfortunes, mistakes and minuses of our lives.  Those just seem  to linger, sometimes haunt or otherwise just lay in wait to wreck a happy moment.

Faith is a container for all the roamings of our past life.  The definition of religion is to organize.  It is our personal faith that leads us to this religion.  No matter if it was a slip of the tongue or a tragedy (for we know that the past can never be undone…it can only be “contained”) read that last phrase one more time – finding a place to place hurts and wounds empowers and invites us to continue on with our lives with new insights, new hopes or new resolves.

Find a place for those useless past events that hold you back.

Under your bed sounds like a good place for them all.  You will truly sleep better at night because as the Psalmist says, “You set a table before me in the sight of my foes.”  This way you will always know where those hurts and wounds reside – carefully and securely contained beneath you where you are able to guard over them “all the days of your life.”

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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