Send A Love Package

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Rainy Monday.

Is there anything much worse? Aside from maybe a root canal?

It was a beautiful weekend here in Alabama, so when I woke up to rain this Monday morning I hit the snooze button so many times that my husband actually said, “Are you getting up today?”

I dragged myself out of bed, showered and went on with my morning routine. All while secretly wishing Monday away. Poor Monday. I wonder if it ever goes and eats worms?

I dropped my daughter off at school, but I didn’t head straight to work as I usually do. I needed to run to the post office first. I know. I can hear you now. Rainy Monday AND the line at the post office. Thanks for the sympathy. I feel it.

So, I walked into the post office and it was maybe 2 minutes after they were supposed to be open and about 5 or 6 people were already waiting in line with no employee in sight. The counter was locked down and there was a bit of a Fort Knox vibe going on. Not the most inviting scene. By the way, it’s a felony to rob a post office at gunpoint. I mean, just in case you didn’t know.  There are plenty of signs to remind you.  I lamented to myself about this crazy stupid world and the need for such reminders as I let out a silent groan and settled into my place at the back of the line.

Stupid Monday.

Then the craziest thing happened. The man with the keys opened the door and the people in front of me felt like it was their job to heckle and torment him. They said things like, “I guess you don’t want to work today, huh?” “What took you so long?” “All I need is to pick up one package!”

And he ignored all of their selfish remarks. He didn’t smile. He didn’t even look their way. Which made me think this was a typical day in his world. It made me sad.

No wonder the place didn’t feel inviting. There was no love there. So I decided I would put it there.

The man with the keys went behind the counter and started calling people up. They’d do business and leave. One at a time without a smile and barely a greeting they’d move forward like grumpy un-caffeinated cattle. Finally, I was glad to be next in line because I couldn’t really wait to get out of that unpleasant place. Then one man came up behind me to wait his place in line.  So I turned to him and said, “Please go ahead of me.”

The look he gave me could have stopped traffic. He was truly dumbfounded that someone would do that. “No, he said. It’s ok. I have a lot of mail to pick up after being gone for 10 days.”

“You must be tired then,” I said. “After such a long trip. Please go ahead of  me.”

“What’s wrong with you? It’s Monday morning. Aren’t you supposed to be grumpy and in a bad mood?” (Yes, he actually said that to me) “Besides, you’re next!”

“Look, I’m not going to argue with you. Please go ahead of me. I am not in a hurry. Now, you’re next!”

He finally stepped ahead of me and it was then that I could tell he really was weary. So I asked him if he had been on vacation or if he had been on a business trip. He proceeded to tell me that he had been gone to work on a house he was trying to sell in North Carolina. No doubt a tiring adventure.

And then Love showed up. The woman standing at the counter who had been so grumpy before joined in on our conversation while she waited on her package. She talked about her recent trip to the beach and how pleasant it was there. And I mentioned how I couldn’t wait for my own beach vacation coming up in a couple weeks. She got her package and very pleasantly told us good-bye and to have a great day.

It was time for my new friend to gather his 10 days worth of mail and he still expressed his gratitude to me while he waited.

“See, I told you this would take awhile. You could have been done by now.”

“It’s really not a problem. I promise I am not in a hurry this morning.”

He gathered his mail and left. But not before he turned to me one last time to thank me for giving him my place in line.

I felt a rush of deep satisfaction wash over me. It’s not every day that I can make people smile. But it was very humbling to see how my decision to step aside and let Love flush through a listless building changed the attitude of the people around me. My hope is that they felt it too and had no other choice but to share the smile with someone else on this rainy Monday.

 

 

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Hold Loosely

The ticket line reached out into the parking lot when we pulled up to the stadium. We had arrived a few minutes late to the middle school football game because well, life with kids. I wasn’t invited to this particular event with my 13-year-old, but I didn’t really mind. I had 4 subjects of homework to tackle with my 5th grader waiting for me at home. Some days I wish that whole cloning humans thing would have worked out. Still, I’m a mom and the thought of leaving my kid anywhere without me will always be slightly unsettling.

Eying the line I said, “Do you want me to come with you to buy your ticket?”

I didn’t notice if she actually rolled her eyes because my focus was on the mob of people planning to kidnap her as soon as I drove off. “No, mom. I’m fine.”

“Are you sure? That line is awful long and you’ve never done this before.”

“Mom, I was here last week with dad. I know what I’m doing.”

“Well, where are all of your friends? Do you know where to go? Which side are you supposed to go to?”

“Mom! There’s the band. My friends are in the band. I know where to go. I’ll be fine.”

I sized up the dude at the end of the line and made sure I could recognize him in a line up if I needed to.

I sighed. “Ok. If you are comfortable and know what you are doing then go on. But leave your phone volume turned all the way up so you can hear it if I call you. And if you don’t respond you will lose your phone for a week!”

She bantered a bit with me about what if she couldn’t hear the phone over the band and it was then that I realized that my little girl will always be mine. Even if she’s spreading her wings a little more strongly and more quickly than I wish, she’s my gift. And God would never want me to hide what He has given me.

I watched her get out of the car and approach the ticket booth with a confidence I never had at 13. She took her ticket and slipped through the gate to enjoy an afternoon of making memories with her friends. I have my own teenage memories at that very same stadium. I cherish those. I’d be a fool to deprive her of those same pastimes.

Still, my heart was a little heavy as I grieved another piece of her childhood fading away and allowing for her maturity to take over. I fought the urge to call my friends who were staying at the game and ask them to keep an eye on her. I fought back the senseless worry of something dreadful  happening to her while she was there. I pushed away thoughts of random accidents happening to me on my way home causing her to grow up motherless. I didn’t say it was rational. I said it was senseless and random. Moms get it.

As I pulled out of the parking lot I heard the always rational, always there Creator of the universe. Creator of my daughter. And He gently whispered and reminded me that she didn’t belong to me first anyway. She’s on loan. And if I hold on too tightly to her she’ll never fly. She’ll never finish the work that He specifically created her to complete. And that no matter what happens to her whether it’s at an afternoon ball game with her friends, or in the safety of her own home, He’s got her right in the palm of His hand.

I thanked Him for that truth, turned up the music and carelessly drove the rest of the way home to finish math homework.

 

 

 

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