Sunday, October 16, 2011

On the Other Side of More

After a week of looking at what it means to Live for More, I spent Saturday--my birthday--on the other side of it, Receiving More.

The Indonesian postal employee handed over the boxes with my name written in familiar hands weeks ago on other side of the world. The writing from my mom, my father-in-law, and my friend, Katrina mixed the tears with the ever-present sweat on my face.

I hadn’t expected to get their packages on my birthday. The customs guy hadn’t released them and he wasn’t planning on doing it until next week, the mail guy had explained. My birthday was his day off after all. But in this country, relationships matter more than rigid schedules, and my birthday somehow mattered enough to the postal employee that he called the customs guy and pled my case.

And I walked out with my packages and the mailman’s gift.

I cut open the boxes at home, thoughtfulness soon covering my kitchen table. And I held up the gifts of the day, amazed at another lesson in the More. But this time, instead of giving more and living for more and sacrificing more, I receive More.

The box from my friend Katrina, not actually a birthday box. No—she’d wanted to send a cooling rack (I have never owned one) after she read about my cake-making debacle. She gave me some helpful tips, and told me a package was on its way.

The racks were buried in her generosity—cake-decorating tools, cake mixes, baking supplies, makeup, candy, fun treats and More. And I can picture my kids’ birthdays with swirls and pretty cakes for the next friend who could use Something Good in her life.

The other packages were given by family who continue to support us and love us and spoil us and think about us even though they miss us and sacrifice their years with us for this More Life we chose. And I receive their More wrapped in cardboard and unwrapped with humble gratitude.

There were the other gifts of the day. A morning spent with my husband sitting on the local beach while the sitter watched the kids. And the talk we had where I experienced, for the millionth time, my husband’s over-the-top love for me.

He showed it with his gifts he bought almost a year ago during his training visit to the States, when he went to the trouble to think of me during a busy time. Hidden for months under the bed in a box. The perfect gifts that shows he knows me and lives to spoil me. But his words to me, once written in letters while we dated long distance, now spoken with the voice that melts me, continue to be my favorite gifts.

Then the friends here made my favorite foods with expensive ingredients during their busy days, making me uncomfortable with all the trouble they went to, in order to show me I am worth all the trouble they went to.

The visit from another friend, carrying her seedling for me to plant in my garden, will be a reminder I will see everyday of someone who cares.

And the words from friends from other places and times scrolling down my Facebook page, reminding me of the gift of friendship all over the world.

And I spent the day uncomfortable with all the comfort. I always say, that as an Army brat who grew up moving all around and living outside of her comfort zone, that I am comfortable with being uncomfortable. But the opposite is true, too. And sometimes it’s easier to give than receive, to sacrifice than to accept, to Live for More than to Receive the More.

And it’s easier to be used by God than to be loved by God, to live my life for Him than to accept His death for me, to give everything away that isn’t even mine than to receive more than I ever want, which is exactly what I need.

But this over-the-top abundance given through a husband, family and friends are the packages of His love, written in His familiar-handwriting from a not-so-faraway place. And my tears of gratitude mix with the sweat of still being a bit uncomfortable with all the fuss.

photo credit, comedy_nose

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