This cleaning out, re-inventing, returning-to-the-potter's-wheel season of life has meant a time of going through the old items collected in my home.
I have been digging through 26 years of parenting, home school writings from my four graduates, cards from 33 years of my relationship with my husband, along with books read through all these seasons of my life.
Where do I put all of this? I didn't save clothes, toys or even art projects, but I did save written pieces of paper, books and thousands of pictures (these are before digital cameras).
I lingered over all the memories... some brought back happy thoughts and others opened feelings of loss or hurt.
Suddenly, my eyes fell upon the book titled "Silver Boxes - The Gift of Encouragement" by Florence Littauer. In a flash, my eyes were flooded with tears. The friend who gave me this book 18 years ago has vanished from my address book. Her life went one way and mine another...neither intending NOT to stay connected. I opened the book to find her writing in the front cover. This is the only book I have received from a friend through the years with writing inside the cover...my daughter-in-law has also blessed me in this area with some keepsake jewels.
The date, May 31st, 1991, has handwriting as beautiful as the friend herself. She described me as a "silver box"...Wow!, and she writes a blessing for my newly-born, only-daughter, that we will have very few "stolen boxes" and a life of full of "gift boxes". Her name is below the words, "I love you".
She and I had walked through some very hard trials. I prayed, while at home, the day her nine month pregnancy ended with the rupture of her placenta, and the perfectly form little boy went to be with the Lord. I recall laying on the floor in a puddle of tears as I prayed for her while she released him. More pregnancies would come for us both and more births. I also set on her couch as her marriage came to an end.
We also shared laughter, birthday parties, singing and dancing before the Lord. I was the one standing beside her when she first visited our church and God told me to welcome her as she might be my next best friend...she was!
So now I reflect on 20-plus years ago. I hate it that life took us apart, but then again, that is life. I think through the many friendships that have come and gone, yet each had a purpose in my life.
I pray I left more "gift boxes" behind and not many "stolen boxes". I hold this precious book close, cherishing the past and looking forward to re-reading it over and over. I am sure God has something new for me within it's covers.
My box of sellable books isn't growing, as I look at the seasons of my life expressed through my reading. My worn Bible with notes, my highlights and dog-eared pages through books on marriage, parenting, pregnancy, home schooling and personal walk with the Lord. I once again see the power of the written word...maybe that is why God left his Word behind for all of us to read, and his inscription to us can be found on his pages.
As I de-junk and de-clutter, may I remember to hold the things close that I need to cherish and let go of the things I need to release. May my return to the potter's wheel allow me to hand more "treasured boxes" to those around me. The book's introduction starts out with "Is it Edifying?" Sounds like a great start.
Love you, Pam, and so many others who have blessed my life so much. Maybe it is time to tell your "silver boxes" thanks for the encouragement.