I came up with the idea of creating care packages for people because I know what it feels like to pack your entire heart into a box and mail it off.
A little over a year ago, my oldest son was going through a rough time of adjustment, six states away. There was a painful break up. There was the juggling of work and school. And in the middle of all that, he moved into a new apartment that was completely unfurnished. The afternoon he signed the lease, they handed him a key, and he ran out the door to try to get to his evening class on time. When the class ended, he ran to Target just before they closed to buy an air mattress to sleep on until he could buy a bed.
He sounded positive on the phone, but a mom can hear the struggle that underlies the words. My heart longed to be there, but I had just left there a few weeks before, so he insisted I not come. Imagining him surrounded by nothing but hardwood floors and white walls, I started ordering and mailing, shopping and shipping, sending him those things that a guy in his first unfurnished apartment doesn't even realize he needs until he reaches for them and they're not there. Like oven mitts. Spatulas. Toilet plungers.
Once he had gotten himself fairly established, I found myself wanting to fill his pseudo-furnished apartment with the comforts of home. I was nesting from afar. My heart ached so much to be with him that I, admittedly, got a little crazy. I decided one morning that his new place would feel more like home if it were filled with the smell of baking brownies. So instead of just sending brownies, which would have qualified as normal, I packed up a mixing bowl, electric beaters, measuring cups, a box of brownie mix, and a 9 x 13 inch glass baking pan. All so he could create the authentic smell whenever he wanted.
I don't know what I was thinking. I actually wasn't thinking at all, I was just missing him. I wanted to cheer him up. I wanted to bring "home" to him. So I wrapped it all in bubble wrap, scribbled out my encouraging note, and ran it to the post office, wishing I had done it two days before so it would already be there.
It arrived two weeks late, a box of broken glass.
It's so silly now, but at the time, it was like my heart didn't get there. My words didn't get there. He was fine. But I was terribly disappointed. He didn't think he needed an electric mixer. But I needed to know that he felt my love. He didn't say, "You could have just baked them yourself." But that's because he's nice. And he recognized the love behind the crazy.
People move. And when they do they take a chunk of our hearts with them. Eventually hearts heal, and people begin to grow lives and roots where they are, and that's a beautiful thing. But there is still this great love that flows from within us, and we long to water them with it.
And I say do it. Water them, as often as you get the chance. Scribble out the encouraging words. Bake the brownies first and then send them. Water them with love that their roots may grow, whether they are across town, across the country, or across the world. Love gives life. So saturate them deeply that they may bloom and their branches one day reach the sky.
Some of us are separated by states. Some are separated by heaven and earth. Our hearts that don't feel whole beat to reconnect. So like the cracked vessels we are, we offer up our flawed gifts. Some don't make much sense. Some are poorly packed and get broken along the way. But offer them anyway. And trust the love inside to get there, to reconnect you. Because that is what love does. It makes a way.
Peace to you and the ones you love,