Monday, September 10, 2012

Pictures and Promise

On the very day our friends move, on the day of sadness and missing and loss, the Lord does this beautiful thing, and His hand is near.  It’s the gentle love of a Father. And He speaks in ways we can understand, and not for a moment should we ever forget that He’s the giver of gifts and grace…


“Let’s get going,” I say. “Let’s load up the van and take your things to the fair.”

The little boys look at me. Our friends have just left. The air in the house feels thick and it's hard to breathe. It’s best to get out. To get busy. It’s best to encourage hearts and minds and to press forward. Straight ahead.

We’re off to the fair to deliver the boys’ contest goods: breads and cookies , Lego mansions, charcoal drawings and a Ferris wheel of Tinker Toys. The big boys tote boxes. The little boys shuffle their feet and look at the ground.

And we all climb into the van.

And we all buckle in.

“Let’s check the mail,” Logan says. “Can you stop? On the way out?”

We sidle up to the curb. Logan’s brown arm reaches to the mailbox. He opens the door and retrieves a bundle.

And what’s on top?                                                               

A package from a friend. Logan and I recognize the handwriting at once. It’s the script that’s been on cards and letters and packages and notes as far back as Logan can remember. The package is slender, but not without bulk. He hands it to me. I can tell from the weight , from the feel, what it is.


From Miss Sarah. One of our most precious friends.

Sarah’s family lived around the corner when Logan and Grant were small. Her three children were dear to us. They still are. But back then, they were playmates, and Sarah was a come-on-over friend.

Then they moved. Far. And my boys? Their hearts were broken. They hurt hard. They stood on the drive and pushed back tears and felt the empty of all that, too.

But that was ten years ago.

And in God’s grace, our families are still close now. Even the small sons, and they weren't yet born when Sarah's family lived close.

“Look what’s here boys,” I say, over my shoulder. They lean forward. I tear at the envelope and the pictures slide out. They are from this summer’s visit.

 There’s a visit every year.
And we pass the pictures around. Sarah's daughter and me in the kitchen. Miss Sarah and Grant sharing a joke. And there’s the gun show. And fun in the pool. That day there had been laughter and joy and good times all around.

And now, today, the boys aren’t crying anymore. We’re lost in the blessing.

We hear the whisper of His grace.

In His hands, relationships can flourish. In His hands, relationships still grow. Miles don’t deter his goodness. Miles don't carry us beyond His grace.

We spend some time, parked snug against the curb, laughing and sharing and remembering. Smiling again. His gift has made dark places light. He’s brought promise and hope.

In a brown envelope. Through the mail. From an ever-close friend.

After awhile, while the boys are still clutching bright pictures in small hands, I start the van.

And then we drive straight ahead.



  1. You and your family have made such sweet friendships because you are such sweet friends to others. That is something your boys will carry with them always.

  2. Thanks, Peggy. And we are blessed to share a sweet friendship with you:) Love you Mrs. Frezon (from the gang)

  3. Very nice, Shawnelle. I haven't been here for a "visit" for awhile, and reading anything you write is like a breath of fresh air! Just the tonic I needed to start my day. XOXO

  4. Thanks, Sharon. Your kindness blesses me today. Love you so. Thanks for the encouraging words for Annne, too. I don't know what happened to the comment. But I was so grateful for her posts. Blessed by her wisdom, too. Hugs to you...