Steve used the closet first, as the most impetuous of the flatmates he was bound to really. He snuck into the spare room late one night and shoved his disappointment in there. He’d had too many years of not being what he felt he should be, so enough was enough. The following night Juno slipped in when the others were asleep and hurled her clumsiness in. She nearly fell over the table doing so, and almost slammed the door on the way out. But she got away with it. 48 hours later Dirk threw his laziness in and a queue formed. The flatmates stopped caring about the others – Alan’s fear, Maria’s addiction, Maurice’s anger, Janice’s doubts, Luke’s regrets… they all went in.
They are asleep at the moment, it’s been a peaceful night, but soon the dawn will break, dogs will bark, litter will clatter and birds will sing. Then all hell will break loose. It’ll start with Juno’s Clumsiness, dropping her cuppa. She always starts the day spilling her breakfast, and that wakes the others up, and if anyone is still asleep then no doubt Steve’s Disappointment will break another mirror. He’s always smashing them, can’t stand looking at himself. He looks all right really. But not what he thinks he should look like. And then Dirk’s Laziness will no doubt yell as he steps on more shards of broken glass and shattered coffee cups. He never clears them up. No need to ask why. Easy to work that one out.
Maurice’s Anger will rage and yell at all three of them, Alan’s Fear will then cower and back away, melting into a shadowy corner, Luke’s Regrets will begin to whimper, and Janice’s Doubts will join him, a tuneless duo, with their soulful heart-torn song. The whole thing will drive Maria’s Addiction back into that familiar cycle of escape and self-destruction. So much so that Alan’s Fear will tut and sigh and blame himself for everything. It’s a messy sight. You’d think they’d never fit into the closet, but the place somehow grows as their weaknesses swell and jostle for space.
And outside, in the world beyond the closet, Steve and Juno and Dirk and Maurice and Alan and Luke and Janice and Maria will live their half-lives, looking for all the world as if they don’t have a closet full of their fears and flaws, as if they’d be the last people in the world to shove their failings away. Looking as if they have life sorted, no care in the world, as if they never wonder, question, quake or shiver about anything really. They are together. They are what everyone else wants them to be.
One day the cupboard may well shake violently, so much so that a few cracks will appear in the wood, large enough for Steve’s Disappointment or Luke’s Regrets, Janice’s Doubts or Juno’s Clumsiness to slip out. And if any of them should do so they may well find a trail worth following. All the way to the hands of the one who shook the cupboard. The man with gnarled, work-worn fingers, and three gaps in his flesh from the kind of nails brutal enough to secure a body to a bit of wood. And if they hang around long enough he’ll probably reunite them with their true selves and show them that weakness is as much a strength as anything else in the new world he’s building.
Our failings can be a door to Grace. 2 Corinthians 12 v 9.