Saturday, January 14, 2017

Box of Sunshine

It's been two months since Matt had his traumatic back surgery. He's finally able to walk with a walker and now that the doctor agreed to take him off the morphine, he's not acting like a crazy person anymore. These two months have felt like an eternal bad dream and I've wished many times that I could just wake up and find that it wasn't real. 

But reality continues to be real and each day I put one foot in front of another: helping Matt through the night, keeping close track of all nine of his daily medications, which must be kept in a safe because of the children and his own bad memory about what he's taken. Our four children are homeschooled, but we've taken a break out of necessity. We read out loud each day, but that's all I can manage. 

Matt was originally  supposed to be fully recovered from this surgery in 2-3 months and we had saved up all the money we could from our tax returns and knew that finances would be tight. This wrench in our lives was so out of left field that we were still scarcely accepting the fact that Matt would never return to his job laying floors and that we had no backup plan. Any illusions we'd had that we were making it through life on our own were shattered, just like our hearts.

In the midst of this nightmare, a package appeared at church for me. It was wrapped in bright yellow paper, with a big yellow smiley face sticker next to my name. The card did not say who it was from.. 

I opened it curiously. As I lifted the lid, bright yellow tissue paper greeted me. Nestled inside were a dozen small gifts-all of them yellow. Smiley-face magnets for my fridge. Peanut M&Ms. Small packs of tissues. On and on, until I came to a typed letter explaining that the unknown sender had seen my sorrow and difficulties and wanted to give me a Box of Sunshine. Enclosed were a few verses, also typed, that were mounted on yellow card stock. My favorite was Psalm 18:16-19--

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. 

It's been four years since I received my Box of Sunshine, but that verse is still up on my fridge. Looking back at that dark and dreary time, I can see that the gift from an unknown friend was the turning point for me. The place where I began to believe that God had a plan for this seeming mistake and would eventually redeem our pain.