What does the world feel like the day after Christmas? Do we still feel hopeful or has disappointment set in? Did the savior really come, or are you just one day older? These were the words, which began my journal entry today.
I received one of the coolest gifts yesterday; actually there were two. But I want to focus on the one. The girl that gave them to me would be considered my 2nd cousin, I think? Her name is Amanda. Amanda just received her Doctorate in physical therapy. Not only is Amanda ridiculously intelligent, she’s ever thoughtful of others.
Every year Wendy’s side of the family draws names for Christmas…a tradition amongst many of the western world. This year, Amanda received mine. Now usually I typically request a gift card or something that is nice and easy to fit into the car…(Thank you Michael!) I say this only because our three girls are more than spoiled by our amazing aunt George and uncle Ted. If I were younger I would have believed Santa lived in their basement…and maybe He really does. Thus, this leaves little room for people in the car ride home, much less anything extra that might be given to Wendy and I.
After opening my gift card from Michael, I was left with one small package. To be honest, I’m not a huge gift exchange fan. Not because I don’t like to buy gifts, but because I’m very uncomfortable opening a gift in front of the presenter. I’ve never been one to hide my feelings well…I’ve tried, but I’m an obvious mess most of the time.
So I began to slowly unwrap the gift. Inside, there were two even smaller gifts wrapped in pink and baby blue tissue paper. The first gift was a block of wood, with The Kissing Well’s logo neatly stamped on it. I really didn’t know how to react, but I know I was smiling…happy because someone reached down and touched a part of my heart that still quietly beats. What came next caught me speechless…
As I unwrapped the second of the two packages, I saw that it was going to be a piece of jewelry; it was in that kind of a quaint box. What my eyes saw next brought mist and yet a bit of confusion. Amanda couldn’t have possibly been this creative, this thoughtful…but boy was I wrong. It was a black leather bracelet…with a dog tag like piece of metal stamped to it. On the metal was engraved coordinates, but not just any coordinates.
Now, if I would have opened this gift first, I’m not sure I would have been so sure about the location of the coordinates the bracelet contained. But remember, I had just been reminded of my heart, and it was still beating out of my chest from the first gift. And by the way, the gifts weren’t numbered, and in retrospect, had no idea the impact of the order. I wonder if Amanda knew that in advance as well? I guess God sometimes still grants us the gift of wander and awe.
1.0667 N, 31.8833 E…the exact coordinates of Uganda, Africa. To be honest, I had never looked them up, had never even thought of looking them up…but Amanda did. Amanda had not only looked them up, but she made them come to life on my wrist, or should I say, come back to life.
See, what Amanda didn’t know that particular day was the anxiety I felt that came from not being me for almost a year. The last thing you want is to be around people whom you haven’t seen for sometime, asking you questions regarding the following year, when the following year in your mind had been a complete disaster. No one likes to be embarrassed. No one likes to admit defeat. No one likes to feel dead, numb maybe, but not dead.
I had a friend once who said to me, “Todd, I don’t think you’ve died, you’ve just been dormant.” I thought that was insightful, and began using it to describe how I was doing if someone seriously engaged me in conversation.
1.0667 N, 31.833 E has made my heart’s spring come early. You can’t force the brown to turn green over night.
I think God likes to use the small things to remind us of the big. He used a precious baby to bring Hope and ultimately provide it for eternity. On this Christmas, for me, He used a small bracelet. I’m thankful for people like Amanda who listen to God and provide Hope.