Just this week I went into a purgative mode…facing our home office with incredible fervor. It had become a strong case against evolution. I began the purge with persistence! Pitching and heaving and reevaluating “former treasures”. Sometimes I think in our quest to purge assets our souls are really crying out to purge our insides….to have our Father create in us a clean heart. It was one of those days. I had gotten to the part where I was filing photos into photo boxes (now there’s an original thought!) …and I had made a pact with myself not to linger…but to quickly grab the photos, shove them into the box, and my only goal was to get them all in the same direction. I promised myself I would sort and file someday in the distant future. For real. It was going along smoothly and every once in a while I would come across a greeting card or a baby announcement or an occasional artifact of memory but I tried my best to stay focused…stuff and shove and sift and stack but DON’T LOOK WHATEVER YOU DO. I knew it would derail my endeavor…I would end up AWOL at the end of the day with nothing to show for my time. But God is trying to teach me to slow down, to savor, and to steady my heart over life’s moments. I was about midway through my “project” when the letter fell out of a clump of photos. It was a tri-folded letter written on college ruled paper …it caught my eye. It became like a burning bush in the desert. I felt like God was calling me to turn aside…to notice something valuable. He was asking me to revisit the past so that I could experience the present with a greater depth of appreciation. Truthfully the letter should never have been in that plastic bucket…it was completely out of place. Imagine that!
It was the ONLY letter I found that day. The outside of the envelopeless letter read this: MOM. All caps. I opened it up slowly and I felt my heart begin to race a few beats faster with each line. It was from our oldest son …dated May 11, 2008. It was Mother’s Day. But when a 19 year old boy turned man writes you it doesn’t really matter if there is a reason or not, only that you get the privilege of hearing his heart. It was hand written, a full page, and I felt like it was brand new all over again.
This is some of what it read:
As you know I’m not good at writing letters. But I would like to tell you how much I appreciate you. Words can’t express my gratefulness for all you have done for me. I always enjoy sitting and talking with you. I know having nine kids is not easy but we all love you for all your sacrifice for us….you are truly a Proverbs 31 woman . May we both be blessed as we grow together in the years to come. May I find a wife like you. So Happy Mother’s Day. Loving you always.”
For some reason the words “may I find a wife like you” felt audible to me. I could hear his voice and the print seemed to leap from the page…
I immediately texted him a photo of my archived trophy…with a sincere notation telling him he got an even better wife! God answered the sincere prayer of a nineteen year old young man. And how in the world did he ever get the notion that he wasn’t a good writer?
The very next day he called to ask me if I could drive him from the bean field back to his truck. He is a farmer now. All grown up and learning to stretch with the pulls of His Maker. I watched him climb out of his John Deere tractor with those thermal overalls….ball cap all dirty from miles it had seen and his boots all caked with mud…his gate was rugged yet worn. As he pulled himself into our 15 passenger van I recalled earlier days when he rode bikes and made forts and wore a cowboy hat two sizes too big. But I feel even more excited to be his mama today then I did then. He has come a long way from a peanut butter and jelly eating boy to the steak growing in the back yard man he is today…but I am most impressed with how God chooses hard things to soften us. The farmers life is a life of faith. It’s best lived with an open hand and a hopeful heart. Tight fisted, self sufficient men might farm fields but they miss out on eternal harvesting. It might take a lot of bushels of crop to figure that out but it’s worth finding solace in the Rulership of God than in hands waxed feeble with pride. This farmer will turn 26 in a few days.
Where did those seven years go? How did I race through them so quickly and forget to go slow and savor? How did I get so rushed that I missed the marinade of life? I was probably taking snap shots and forgot to pause for life moments. God help me to freeze the frame and focus on the faces right before me. Slow my moments so that I can turn living each day into loving each day. Let me lose myself in buckets of memories instead of focusing on neatly lined boxes of photographs of the past. Make me fully alive to the now. Slow. Steady. Purposeful. Intentional. Purged from my hurry to enjoy the heart of right now.