As a child, Jacob had tried to lift the lid, and discovered that it was fastened down. Curious, he asked his grandmother about it. She told him that his grandfather had made it, and had given it to her on their wedding day.
"What's inside the box, Grandma?" Jacob had asked, pressing his small face to the lid and trying to peer through the slot into the inky darkness.
"God's Love," she replied smiling. "Why child, that box is plum near full of God's love."
That was mighty puzzling to a little boy. "How did the love get in there, Grandma?"
"I put it there Jacob, I've been saving it up all these years. Some day when you're grown we'll open up that box and I'll show you what love looks like."
Jacob thought that was a wonderful promise, and he often pondered what he was going to see.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~Jacob sat there now, having just come from his grandma's funeral, remembering the day they finally opened the box together. It was the week before his wedding to Lynette, and his grandma had asked him to come over to share dinner with her. After dinner, they went to the parlor, and she handed Jacob the small crowbar she had lying next to her chair on the floor.
"Here, pry the lid off. Be careful now, that box is mighty old and I don't want it breaking apart after all these years."
Slowly, bit by bit, Jacob eased out the old nails and finally the lid was free. As she carefully lifted it from it's resting place, his Grandma smiled at him broadly and said, "Let's just see what we've got in here."
Much to Jacob's amazement, the box was crammed full of small pieces of paper, folded up to be about an inch square. Most were white, but a few were an assortment of bright colors. Puzzled, Jacob looked to his Grandmother for explanation.
She reached in and handed him a few of the folded squares. Opening one, he read the note written in her script, "Just when we were running low on food to feed the young'uns our neighbor Paul showed up with a box of meat from the cow they just butchered. - July 27, 1954." Another said, "Little Eloise has been sickly all week, but today when she woke up the fever had broken, and she was asking for something to eat. By afternoon she was out of bed and begging to go out to play. - May 5, 1963. A third square, on paper that appeared to be not quite as old, read "Mary brought Jacob and Lisa by to spend the day with me, what a lovely time we shared! - October 13, 1974. "
Jacob sat there dumbfounded. Apparently every one of the hundreds, maybe thousands, of folded papers in this box held a note about something good that had transpired. "Why are some of the papers colored, Grandma?" he asked.
"Those are the red-letter days when my children were born and married, and the days when each of you grandchildren were born."
Spotting one square that appeared a bit larger than all the others, it's paper a pale shade of blue, he lifted it and opened it carefully. "Today God called home my beloved husband of 53 years, so that he wouldn't have to suffer anymore. - February 7, 2003." Jacob notice that his grandma looked at that one tenderly and dabbed at her eyes a bit.
"You see, Jacob, I knew that God had blessed me when your grandfather asked me to marry him, and I wanted to make sure that I never forgot to be thankful for all the good things He sent my way. So I started writing something down on a little piece of paper every night before bed, and slipping it into the slot in this box. That's what I meant about it being a box full of blessings, Jacob, I filled that box up with all this proof of God's love!"
Motioning toward a large gift wrapped shape on the other side of the room, Jacob's grandmother told him to open it. Her face shined with love as he tore off the paper to reveal a new wooden box very similar to her own. "You take this one home and you and Lynette start filling it up with God's love from the very first day of your lives together."
Almost too choked up for words, Jacob stood and embraced his grandmother, "We will, Grandma, we will!"
Jacob's grandmother was buried on a beautiful Spring day in the small family cemetery on their farm. After the service Jacob had come over to the old house by himself, telling Lynette that he had something he needed to do. Pulling a square of pale blue paper from his pocket, he took out his pen and wrote, "Today God took Grandma home to be with Grandpa. - April 21, 2011." Folding the square carefully, he sealed it with a kiss and pushed it gently through the slot into the old box that was filled with a lifetime of blessings, the proof of God's never failing love.
This post was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt choices this week are box and dark...
Come and join us there!