Praise The Sun Uncategorized Out of the Box

Out of the Box

Boxes are really interesting things. It’s the first thing we see when we receive something as a gift. It tells us a lot about the size, weight and contents of what’s inside. I remember as a kid, picking up a light box for Xmas meant “clothes” and a heavy box generally meant “Toy”, especially if it rolled from one end of the box to the other upon tipping and shaking. A box can be a really great thing and bring a lot of joy. As a kid, I had a Remco Bulldog Tank, which I can still get a nice feeling from by looking them up for sale still on Ebay. I won’t be buying one soon as they are around $300. I remember the original price was around $12. But that box sure brought back memories and now, if I need one, I can get an empty Bulldog Tank box for a mere $50!

We all come in a box when we are born, and I don’t mean the womb.
Once we arrive, we are slipped into a box that we are generally expected to stay in for the rest of our life, depending on the topic.

Of course, we get the box of our family. I personally grew up in the Orthodox Presbyterian box. I am Dutch and German and came to the planet in April of 1950 in Rochester, NY to a young couple who had already had three other kids, one severely handicapped and then me. My dad worked at Eastman Kodak and had managed not to be sent overseas to fight WW2 with his work for them counting as service. Had he been drafted, well I might never have gotten to write this. Moms parents had managed to accept an invitation from friends to postpone their Atlantic crossing in April of 1912 and stay until June to be in their wedding since they had intention of returning to Amsterdam once in America. So they didn’t take the Titanic that April.

No choice… just a family that is ready made. A mom and dad, or maybe just a mom. Various aunts and uncles and of course varieties of grandparents, who may or may not be thrilled we are here. The family may have lots of money and great stuff, or not much. It might be in the US, Europe, Uzbekistan, China or Africa. We might be born into a great home on Oak Street or Heatherwood Way, or a village in Iraq, Namibia or on the outskirts of Shanghai. No choices here for us to make. Just the way it is. The family may be well employed, employed, underemployed or unemployed…again, no choices for us.

In this box we are born into, and mostly expected to stay forevermore in, we get a religion to grow up in. It might be Judaism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, Hindu or a host of other “isms” that again we had no say in. It is who others want us to be with all it’s laws, rituals and beliefs. They did the religious belief homework long before we arrived and we will love what they choose for us. If we don’t love it, it just may take longer to convince us.

Of course I am Catholic. I was born Catholic! The idea that one cannot really be born with a whole religious belief system in place doesn’t seem lotion boxes to cross our minds. What we mean is we had no choice in our youth but to be programmed by those before us who had selected the truth of life for us that they generally got from those before them. That box is just one size and you and I were expected to simply stay in that box, no questions asked. The trouble comes later in life when we seek to get out of the box we came in.

But often, as we get older, we find the box we are in no longer fits us. While the tribe or family may be content with that box, a very small part of which they have never even explored themselves, we are not. We might not be comfortable in the political part we inheirited, or the social and mostly the religious part we inheirited, and have to not just look around the box given, but actually look up and over the edge, to see what we can see. This is where the danger, criticism and head shaking comes to play in our lives and where we have to decide if looking over the edge of this given box is worth it. We aren’t yet saying we are going to leave the box, but the threat to family, friends and even ourselves as we think about it is just about to manifest itself.

The criticism might come for reading outside the accepted and given box of ideas on all topics from religion to employment. One might catch it but good for getting caught having a different idea about sexuality or adherence to the established religious taboos that came in that original box. The religious box you came in might demand a tithe of your income but you no longer feel the return on the “investment” is worth it, and perhaps God doesn’t really need your money. There will always be someone in the tribe to warn you that you can’t be “blessed” with an idea, out of the box, like that.

It’s OK for businessmen to look outside the business box for better ideas or the scientific community to see outside the box of science to give us really cool stuff, but it is NOT acceptable for the individual to step outside the social, political or religious aspects of the tribal box, given at birth.

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