When someone gives to me, I yearn to give in return. My heart is still melting into a little pool of mama love over my youngest daughter leaving a letter for me several weeks ago out in the mailbox that borders our property walking trail.
The fragrance of chocolate wafts through the Valentine aisle as I select the perfect little heart box. And what are these? Tiny ceramic type decorations to stake into a potted plant. Mushrooms, squirrels, gnomes. Bright and colorful, except for the squirrel. I know ... I'll place these along the trail. Daughter's been out walking every day. I'll surprise her.
The girls are gone. Finally. I race outside, insert the little heart box into the mailbox, sprinkle the ceramic decorations along the trail. It's time to wait.
I'm not a good waiter. Do you remember that my daughter waited 6 weeks for me to notice her letter? Whatever she has, I don't.
We return home from church. "You going walking today, daughter?" I try to hide my smile.
"Why?" She sees right through me. Blast.
The door closes, and I can't wait to hear from her. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
"Did you see anything?" I text her.
She texts back an attachment picture of her hand, holding a broken piece of glass. Oh, my word. Am I going to have to show her?
She texts me back. She found the heart box. "Is this for me?" Yep. She's walking the trail, but she's still not opened her eyes to what I've left her.
Sometimes one has to search a little deeper for treasure.
I race out, uniting with younger daughter. Our steps join in the same direction. "Keep your eyes open," I say. I'm mentally trying to identify just exactly what makes the heart worthy and open to receive from others, to uncover buried treasure.
Find Someone To Love
We come across the little gnome. She smiles while giving me that mom-you-are-ridiculous look.
I laugh, a proud-mama moment.
My oldest 18-year-old daughter's words surface in my memory. "Do you remember Evan, Mom?""No.""I used to buy Evan a Dr. Pepper on Wednesday nights at church."
The Conditions Need To Be Just Right
Proceeding, the younger and I stumble across the mushrooms that I'd inserted into the soft soil. Both of them. One red. One blue.
"I touched it earlier. I thought it was real. It felt real."
We laugh. Another proud-mama moment.
Older daughter's voice floods my heart again—"I've worked with Evan at church since he was in kindergarten."
Don't Miss The Blessing
We reach the final one .... She searches all around, but she still can't see it. I bend down and brush my fingertips over the tiny squirrel holding a treasured acorn.
I recall older daughter's final words. "Mom, Evan's in 4th grade now, and every Wednesday, he now buys me a Dr. Pepper. He uses his allowance." I envision her smile, my smile.
"This one's a bit camaflouged," I say to younger. Brown squirrel against brown dirt and nearby leaves. "You have to really be looking to see it."
Sometimes it seems we have to wait, and sometimes it seems we have to search.
But we are loved.
Love doesn't always come in a heart-shaped box.
We love because He first loved us—1 John 4:19♥
What tips do you have for giving and receiving? How have you been loved recently in a not-so-heart-shaped-box way?