Sometimes hope comes in the form of a gift basket.
My alarm is going off. I hit the snooze button, silencing it for 10 more minutes. I pull the covers over my head. Trying to hide from the day ahead of me. I had just endured the worst two weeks of my life. And I was exhausted. Just so very exhausted.
I couldn’t remember the last time I slept. Like really slept. I certainly had not slept that night. The fear, the sadness and the anxiety eating away at my heart, my mind, and my body.
So I laid there, considering just not getting up. I could just lay here. I could just stay right here, and hide. I could ignore my phone, ignore my responsibilities, avoid facing the realities of this day and this new life I’d been unwillingly thrown into.
The alarm goes off again.
I can’t do it. I can’t get up. I just can’t. I don’t want to. I just want it all to disappear.
But responsibilities. Ughhh.
I have responsibilities. I have to get my child up and off to school. I could hide here for a bit, and maybe get away with it. But she would be up in a few hours wanting food. Wanting to know why we didn’t get up. Wanting to know why I’m hiding in my bed. Wanting to know why she wasn’t at school. And my coworkers would be calling, worried about me if I didn’t show up for work or call. And so I would eventually have to get up and face it, this day.
But the life and death gravity this particular day held, was just so terrifying.
It was the day that Jeff would go to the doctor. I had insisted on it. He had assured me that they had been very careful, but we all know nothing is foolproof. And even if it was highly unlikely there was anything to worry about, I had to be sure. I needed to know that I didn’t have to worry about it, and I needed to know immediately. I had enough to deal with, I didn’t want this hanging over my head too. So I insisted. I knew we should both go, but he was the one that had put us in this position, and I just couldn’t do it yet. My heart couldn’t handle the humiliation of walking into my doctors office and telling them that I needed to get a full work up because my husband had been cheating on me.
I was so angry. So angry that he had put us in this position. Angry that this was necessary. Angry that there was even a remote possibility that I might not only have to live with the emotional scars of what he had done, but although I had not been unfaithful, I could possibly have to bear physical consequences of HIS sin.
So he would go first. To give me peace of mind, at least concerning this particular subject, that day he would walk into his doctors office and ask for a full screening.
I was terrified at just the thought of it. Mortified. Angry. Sad. I felt physically ill. Nauseous. I was an absolute wreck.
But as much as I wanted to lay in that bed, there was no hiding from this day.
So I got up. I took my shower, got dressed, and got AK to school.
Then I put on my best “I’m ok” face, and walked into my office.
I hadn’t told anyone what was happening that morning. They knew what I’d been going through, but they had no idea what I was facing on this particular day.
We have a short meeting every morning before we see patients.
I came in, sat down, and noticed that everyone got quiet.
Why was everyone so quiet? Then I realize all eyes are on me.
What is going on?
Then Dr. B. starts talking. He says, “The last couple of weeks have been rough for you, and we just all love you and we all wanted to do something for you, so we put together some things to help you and to encourage you as you start this new path of life you are on.”
I lift my hand to my mouth and can barely get the words out..”wait..this is for me? Oh.. what did y’all do?”
And they hand me this beautiful, overflowing gift basket.
Filled with all my favorite snacks, a coffee mug, a bird house, a daily devotional, gift cards for several restaurants,the nail salon, the movies, department stores and boutiques. You name it, it was stuffed in that basket. And tucked throughout the basket, inside and out, were handwritten encouraging bible verses. There was so much love tucked into that basket.
It was completely unexpected, and the sudden rush of emotion was more than I could hold back.
Which is to say, I completely fell apart, y’all. I’m talking heaving, gasping sobs.
Pretty sure I scared the heck out of them. As I pulled myself back together, one by one they came around to hug my neck. To tell me they cared. To cry with me.
There was one more thing in that basket. I’m wearing it right now.
A bracelet, with quotes about joy on it. Something else they didn’t know was the significance of that word during that time. I didn’t know what I wanted in my life at the time. I was unsure of everything. So anytime I thought about what I wanted my life to look like, the word I always came up with was joy. No matter what happened with my marriage, I just desperately wanted to have joy in my life. I just imagined a time coming when I wouldn’t be so enveloped by pain and instead have joy. It’s what I longed for.
They didn’t have any idea of what I was facing that day. They had no idea how hard it was to even pull myself from my bed that morning. They didn’t know how much I needed that encouragement and to be wrapped up in love that morning. And they wrapped me up so well. That basket spoke volumes. It said “We can’t take your pain away. We can’t fix this for you. But we can do this. We can cover you with our prayers and our encouragement and our love. We can do that.”
They had no idea how much I needed that on that particular day. But God knew.
I am so very blessed to have such beautiful, amazing, kind hearted people to work with. They are not just co-workers and friends. They are truly family. I am forever grateful for the way they loved me through that time. For the way they picked up my slack when it was all I could do to get the bare minimum of my work done. For the way they checked on me, brought me meals, and just showed me every kindness they possibly could. There is big, big love in my heart for these people.
And now when I wear that bracelet, I’m reminded.
I’m reminded that sorrow comes but for a night, but joy, joy comes in the morning.
Joy is coming. If you are in the dark of night, if you are in that place of sorrow, hold tight to that. Joy is coming.
Don’t just hope for it. Hold tight to that promise and EXPECT it.
If you know someone struggling through some of their darkest days, and you don’t know what to do to help them, just be there. Just show up. Give them a hug. An encouraging word. A gift. A meal. A prayer. Whatever you are able to do, big or small. You never know if that blessing could turn out to be exactly what they needed in that moment. Your action could very well be God’s divine appointment to provide exactly what that person needs.
Sometimes things work out the way we want. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes, you’re like I was in that moment and don’t even know for sure what you really want. You just know you want joy.
But no matter which way things work out, there’s goodness on the other side of it. Even if you can’t see it yet, even if you can’t possibly imagine that it could exist for you at the end of whatever path you choose. Joy is waiting there, and if you’ll just keep looking for it, it’s going to find you. I’m living proof. It found me.
So go ahead, climb on out of that bed and face whatever scary things you have looming ahead. Yes it’s dark. Yes it’s scary. But the darkness will lift. Just keep moving forward.
Morning is coming.
Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Amy Thurston Gordy