As I mentioned in previous posts, we didn't watch TV in the living room or eat in the kitchen, which meant we spent most of our time in our bedrooms. Geoff's room, in particular, became a substitute living room of sorts. The TV had been moved there at some point, and from then on it became a gathering place for us. While most of the carpet couldn't be seen in the rest of the house, there were patches of Geoff's carpet that were clear at the time. It was a royal blue carpet, which I'm sure was cool at some point in history. We would order pizza on Friday nights and watch TV or play Nintendo in his room. I'm sure he hated it...having mom and me in his room all the time with nowhere else in the house for him to go, but he seemed to take it in stride. However, by the time we went back, the room looked more like everywhere else in the house.
Photo © Geoff Johnson
Generally speaking, Geoff's room holds happy memories for me. (With the exception of when we would play Nintendo and Geoff would pause me over a jump and kill me on purpose. Although I'm pretty sure that has more to do with having a big brother than with anything having to do with the house.) I also remember that we used to clean up Geoff's room entirely the week before Valentine's Day and then decorate it with balloons and streamers and surprise Mom. It was all meant to be a display of our love for her, but unfortunately, I don't think any area of the house getting cleaned up without her involvement led to much joy or gratitude. The same was true when my grandpa surprised her by cleaning out the garage one time. It was disastrous and led to months of silence between them.
Living behind the walls of hoarder is a terrible life of silence and secrecy that leads to loneliness and a deep need for acceptance. Wanting desperately for people to love you but knowing you can't really let them know all of you. Although those feelings may not have found their roots in Geoff's or my heart, we certainly felt the effects of them. I often still feel their residue and struggle to keep up appearances on the outside. And yet God has been so gracious in how He has carried me all these years. Slowly dealing with the wounds and allowing time to bring some healing. It hasn't been easy. Opening the door to friends was the first step. It was a really hard first step, but had fixing our brokenness been easy, I doubt the Lord would have freely given His innocent son to be slaughtered on the cross to deal with the deep depravity that our souls bear and to set us free from the weight of all our burdens. Again and again I am reminded of God's desire to "bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound" (Isaiah 61:1). And that promise is universal, not just to children of hoarders, but to all of us who have broken places of our lives that need real healing.
Read about Opening the Door here.
Read about The Living Room here.
Read about The Kitchen here.