An Anniversary Gift
At the beginning of May, I ordered a gift for Michael. Our 15th anniversary was coming up on the 14th and I wanted to get him something special. He is really difficult to shop for because he always gets himself what he wants, which leaves me with few options. (Ladies, you know how this goes, right? Michael is not the only guy who does this.) Anyway, I found the perfect gift on eBay and ordered it.
May 14th came and the gift had not arrived. When I looked at the purchases tab on the eBay app it said that the shipping label had been printed six days earlier, in Seattle, but the box had not been shipped. Fantastic….
I emailed the seller and he said he was sorry for the delay and would ship the box the next morning. The next day came and went and the shipping status still didn’t change. Finally, the tracking was updated on May 16th and the box was expected the following Friday. Any guesses as to what happened next?
Right. No box.
Where is it?
On Friday the 29th I sent the seller a message and said that I was super disappointed about this whole shipping debacle and would make sure to say as much in my feedback. I know that the carrier issue isn’t his fault but we lost 6 full days of time because of his delay and that wasn’t okay.
The man wrote back to me and said to chill out, the world didn’t revolve around me and to “get a grip.”
Get a grip? Are you kidding me?
Then God Stepped In and I Listened
Thumbs poised over my phone to write a nastygram right back at him, telling him where to stick his grip, I stopped short. I changed my tone, God only knew why. (Seriously, He knew – that part is coming) My next message was about how tired I was from being overworked, how this was a big deal gift, and that I didn’t mean to be rude but that I was really disappointed.
His reply talked about how he lost his mom, father-in-law, and both grandparents within the span of 20 days during the pandemic; that his car was in the shop and he actually had to walk to the post office, box in hand, to get it delivered. He thought his car would be ready to roll earlier, which is why he had waited in the first place.
He said he was sorry and that if he had known just how important this gift was, he would have found another way to get it out to me earlier.
And then in our last set of messages we prayed. We prayed for peace, and health and for car parts to be delivered. And for boxes to arrive from Seattle before the next anniversary rolled around.
If ever there was a time to “Set a guard, oh Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (or thumbs as may be the case) (Psalm 141:3 ESV) it was during this exchange. Because I really was so caught up in my disappointment and was ready to fire away about more than the box. I was ready to let loose about my pandemic angst, my social justice anger, my sorrow around another man killed for no reason.
This man from Seattle was about to get unleashed on him, in 1,000 characters or less, my sheer frustration at not being able to fix it all.
Just like he could not control the post office delivering Michael’s anniversary gift.
The Holy Spirit Whispered
Thank God for the Holy Spirit whispering to me to stop, “to be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (fine, in this case, to slow down my anger) (James 1:19 ESV.)
Because in the time that I slowed down I was able to hear the pain of somebody else, to take in the bigger picture, to have perspective, to pray. And to ask for forgiveness.
I hope you too will heed the whispers of the Holy Spirit when you are ready to boil over so you can stop, listen, pray, and walk in love. These days, for which I seem to have no more words, require us all to remember that God made every single one of us in his image. When we follow Him, we will deliver the change needed in this world. Shipping times may vary but love will always be delivered as long as you send it into the world.
When is the last time you heard the Holy Spirit whisper to you?