Lisa, for the Win!
“If you want to change the world . . . start off by making your bed.”
~ Admiral William H. McRaven ~
I walked down the driveway to greet the UPS man, who is always quite nice. We exchanged pleasantries, as he handed me a Priority, Flat Rate box, from the United States Postal Service.
The actual box raised my curiosity, before I even went to look for the sender’s name. One is not normally permitted to use a USPO box to ship from UPS, unless the box has been previously used; which this had, and by me! I could not believe when I saw my return address on the box.
The box was addressed to both Kate and me; but Kate was away on business, so I opened the box! It was not just a box that I had previously used but its contents were one of my “boxes”.
You see, my Mother loved receiving mail; mail connected my Mother to the outside world and reminded her that someone loved her, wondered how she was, and what she had to say. As my Mother grew older, and her world grew smaller, mail became even more important to her; thus I tried to surprise my Mother, as often as possible, with a little something in the mail.
I became accustomed to looking for things I could put in boxes for her; which honestly was not hard to do, because my Mother received everything with such a happy grateful heart. After my Mother passed away, I noticed I still kept adding things to her mail drawer, even though I had no one to mail them to. But one day, as I looked through the drawer, I thought: If Mother enjoyed her boxes so much, why wouldn’t someone else? Thus I began mailing boxes to other people.
I know I have mentioned how terrible last Christmas was because one of our Christmas “boxes” which was actually a 30 gallon (new) trash bag filled with wrapped presents was rejected. We were told to come back and pick up the gifts or the recipient offered to dispose of them.
One gives to share joy and hopefully meet a need or desire; and giving is quite Biblical. This rejection of our gifts was one of the most painful things that have ever happened to either Kate or me. We of course went back and picked the bag of gifts up; verified with the other recipients that the person who had sent us that text was speaking for them, which they were, and came home, putting the bag in our guest room. We were in shock.
There were a wide variety of gifts in that bag, including, all those kinds of things you think will be a blessing to people. It took about a month before I went looking for the food stuffs in the bag, and then I pulled out a few things for other reasons; but the majority of the bag just sat on the guest room closet floor. I could not bear dealing with the heartache.
But finally, last month, I went into the room, put everything on the guest bed and began to literally rip open the packages, throwing away the wrapping paper and stacking the gifts into piles to put in the gift drawers. There were a few tears shed during the process and a few surprises; like candy I had forgotten to reclaim in January.
I decided this episode was over and it was time to move on, which I did until I went looking for something for someone else, and opened a white box.
The box contained vintage Christmas china pieces, which were meant for one of the recipients, of the garbage bag gifts. What made me begin to cry uncontrollably in the basement was not the china, but rather the little coffee pods, courtesy of a hotel, which I had tucked into the box.
We stay at a lot of hotels, and usually go looking for expresso in the morning; but I so love free things and therefore I always bring home the coffee packets. My sister is usually the recipient of coffee in packets, but she does not use the pods, thus they went to that other house.
I left the box of china and coffee downstairs, and fell back into this dark, deep sorrow; but then Lisa sent me a box – again!
It was Lisa’s box that had given me hope at Christmas time, though Lisa had not put her name on or in the box. I had gotten an anonymous box filled with the kinds of things I put in my boxes; I had never mailed Lisa a box. As I opened her box, and began taking things out, I kept telling Kate, this is one of my boxes; it was shocking. Finally, not finding any information from the sender, I told Kate: God sent me a box!
I truly felt like God had looked down at our heartache, obviously only some of which is expressed in the rejection of the gifts, and said keep going; I have got your back.
Between the postmark and the book in the box, I decided that Lisa Lynx had sent me the box. The book, “Make Your Bed, Little things That Can Change Your Life . . . And Maybe the World”, by Admiral William H. McRaven, was one Lisa and I had both made comments about on Facebook. She had dedicated it to me, with a heart, and a wish for a Happy New Year, but had not signed it.
The box had so deeply and at the absolute right moment blessed me; I had to write her, even if the gift was meant to be anonymous. So I sent Lisa a thank you note, saying I believe this gift came from you, and if so, thank you!
I did not hear from Lisa after the note, and I truly hoped I had not offended her by figuring out who had sent the box, or that I was wrong about the sender.
At Easter time, I decided to send Lisa one of my boxes, which I did. Though when Kate took it to the post office, Andy, who is one of the nicest people in the entire postal world, told Kate that there was a problem with the address, and changed the zip code for us; we both worried about whether or not the box had arrived. Of course, I now know it arrived, because Lisa sent it back to me, again at the absolute right moment!
This time Lisa included a beautiful card as well as note, which accompanied one of two items in the box, which had been her mothers. I could not believe her timing, or the fact that she sent me her phone number. (I have to tell you I really want to add an exclamation point there, which I normally do not overuse; I feel like they lose their power when over used and I have used them a lot in this article.)
I called Lisa, forgetting the time difference; in a few minutes Lisa called back and I asked her if I could speak freely. I so love when I do not need to be guarded with my words and by that I mean when I do not have to pretend that I do not believe God is real and working in our lives!
She said yes, speak away and I told her what an amazing blessing her two boxes had been; such a pure act of love for absolutely no reason. As we talked Lisa said she had not realized that she had not included her name in the first box; but she was happy it had meant so much to me and seemed fine that I had decided the box had come from God.
We spoke for a while, a conversation I shall cherish forever. I am so grateful Lisa; I thank you for allowing the Lord to use you to restore me from my sorrows. May God truly bless you a thousand fold.
Some things are easier to find a new home for, like cash, gift cards, coffee, and chocolate, others, like personalized ornaments and books, are much more difficult to give to someone else. But there is a new baby coming into the world whose parents find themselves in need of help; it was while looking for something for their baby that I went to the gift section and opened the box that held the Christmas china and coffee pods. Eventually I found the right unwanted box; I brought it upstairs and weighed the possibilities of its new home. I feel a little guilty and sad that the baby for whom it was intended will not receive it, but I just keep thinking about the Parable of the Great Banquet, Luke 14: 15-24, where none of the invited guest wanted to come to the feast and so the host told his servants to invite those in the streets.
All we can do is offer; if our friendship, love, hospitality, and gifts, whatever they may be, are rejected, we really just need to dry those tears, and say hey the food is still hot and there are others who are hungry! I hope you are not feeling rejected and unloved, but if you are remember you are not alone in your grief and just because the person you love does not see your value, does not mean there is not someone else out there who thinks you are worth sending a box to! That is all for now!