One summer I stole nine bathing suits. Swimwear proved easy to slip off hangers and shove in overstuffed shopping bags. I swiped swimsuits but refused to wear them. I deemed my thirteen-year-old body stick-figure-like, and the patterned beachwear lined my bottom dresser drawer.
Later, I decided if I was going to risk punishment, it should be for something I actually wanted. So, I stole jewelry, not fancy jewelry but plastic jewelry. However, instead of feeling sparkly, I felt cheap. No one really wants a green, rhinestone, studded bracelet, and I’m certain, no one wants five of them.
Tapes were next. Music moved me, and surely music would make me feel better. Into the bag went Poison, in went Great White, in went Cinderella, in went Rob Base. Out came nothing but more emptiness.
Objects glittered, but the more I crammed into the overflowing bags, the worse I felt.
I reached into my pocket and grabbed a quarter for a mall locker. My stolen goods were too heavy to lug. I locked up my loot and started again. I knew something was missing from my life, and maybe, if I continued my search, I might discover the mysterious key to teenage happiness.
Of course, I’ve changed since my long-ago thieving sprees, but how often do I wander about filling the hurt of my heart with meaningless stuff?
Today busyness, distractions, and indifference replace bathing suits, tapes, and bad jewelry. However, the theme of throwing stuff at hurt continues, and the idea of letting hurt sit scares me.
Instead of running to Him, I run, and I keep running until my muscles burn and sweat drips, and I’m hunched over sucking air.
Unable to take another step and exhausted, I lift my head.
And there He stands, arms outstretched, waiting to carry the junk that’s too heavy to lug around, and the stuff a mall locker just can’t hold.