This morning I was overwhelmed with a thought - my Easter basket is so full.
Maybe it was because I was thinking, here it is two days before Easter and I haven't even done one thing about putting together a basket for my kids. Of course, since they are both now bigger than me and their thoughts go more toward i-phones and cars than toward chocolate bunnies and peeps, perhaps I can get a pass. Still, I'm not sure I'm ready to let go filling a basket with little goodies for them to wake up to on Easter morning. The question is, what do you fill a basket with for someone who has "everything"?
Somewhere in all this, my mind took a detour. One of the many benefits of being slightly ADD I guess. I got to thinking about, well, EVERYTHING.
My mind wandered to a few years ago after Hurricane Katrina when I lost all my clothes when a tree crashed into my closet. I could choose between my jacket that had pink insulation filling the pockets or the one covered in pine sap and bits of tree bark. Nothing could be salvaged - especially since we were without power and water for over a week. (No way to wash what might remain.) I went to church that week wearing a shift dress I kept in a drawer to use as a beach coverup. That afternoon, two dear friends came driving up to our house, the one with the delightful pine tree decorations plunging through the roof, and brought me clothes. Not just old stuff - some of their best stuff. They shared what they had and suddenly I had an entire wardrobe that was nicer than what I had lost!
My mind flashed to a more recent event when one of those same friends saw me at church and could see the hurt in my eyes. I was feeling overwhelmed at the loss of one of my student's parent. I just didn't really know what to do with the pain. She was there. The next day I got a text letting me know she had been praying for me and my students as we tried to process it all. She is that friend that just somehow senses when you need someone to walk along side you. This isn't the first time I have realized that thanks to her, I don't have to try and do it all on my own.
Immediately my mind shifted to an event from this week. I was waiting on my son to arrive home from a track meet, and I sat in the school parking lot dealing with thoughts and emotions that threatened to overwhelm. "Who did I think I was?" "You really have nothing to give." "Why do you keep writing that blog? You're not really saying anything anyone needs or wants to hear." "You are old. Anything that you might have once been able to do is past." These thoughts and similar ones kept stinging me like mosquitoes on a hot summer day. They came from no where without warning and left their mark. Just then, my phone lit up. It was a message from another friend who now lives far away sent just to encourage. I cannot tell you how perfect the words were at that moment. It was if she had sat and listened to my thoughts and sent a salve that took the sting and itch out of everyone of those "bites. "
Last night, I sat and looked at facebook and instead of the negative messages that can so often find their way to those pages, I saw faces of families I have been blessed to know through the years. I saw children I once taught who are now adults or close to it. No longer are they in the "larva" stage but they move forward as adults making their mark in the world for God.
I see my own children who, despite all the mistakes I have made, still tell me they love me. They are gifts I truly do not deserve.
Through all this, I realize, my "basket" is so full to overflowing with gifts, not material ones, but gifts from God. His Grace overflows all around me.
My eyes are spilling over with tears as I attempt to write this simply because I cannot believe I have been so blessed.
Now, if I could just figure out a way to fit those same blessings into a basket a teenager will understand, I'd have it made. Somehow, however, I think this kind of basket is best appreciated by one who has lived a while longer than them. I guess I'll just have to go out and find a chocolate bunny...and a gift card they can use with friends so that they can build a basket of their own.
Ecclesiastes 4: 9 - 12
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.