A Mailbox With Great Returns To Sender

We've lived in Lucas for almost 17 years, ample time for most folks to figure out the local post office closes every day from 1 to 2 p.m.

And yet, when I need to utilize the mail services, more often than not, I find myself standing at their door, in the afternoon, somewhere between 1 and 2.

The worst part is, it always surprises me the door is locked, a case perhaps of brain being shipped, but not delivered.

Or, maybe it's just that sometimes we miss the obvious, mostly because our attention is focused elsewhere.

For the past two summers, we've spent a week at Wrightsville Beach, N.C.  Wrightsville is a four-mile stretch of beach island, just east of Wilmington.  The community of 3,000 or so also includes an interior island called Harbor Island and pockets of commercial properties on the mainland.

For me, it's the perfect balance of activity to toes-in-the-sand relaxation.  There are ample restaurants and shopping, museums and miniature golf, but the crowds are minimal and the traffic flows smoothly.  The beach itself is the main attraction, whether you're fishing off Johnny Mercer's Pier, surfing, kayaking or just soaking up sun.

It was in this stretch of paradise that I happened upon another one of life's surprises.

During a morning walk to the end of the beach- a walk I've taken at least a dozen times- I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.  There were strings of shells hanging off driftwood in the dunes, glass bottles and trinkets atop a foundation of wood. 

I heard my friend Nene's voice in my head:  "It bears investigation."

It was a mystical spot, and for a moment I felt like I was intruding- and yet there it was, right on this most public beach. 

As I got closer, I saw that atop the foundation sat a plastic mailbox, the plastic covered in wood strips, and marked ever so clearly, "God's Mailbox."

God's mailbox?  When did this get here?  I certainly had never noticed it.

I hesitated in opening the box, but felt I had to.  Inside was a community notebook, filled with prayers of adoration, contrition and thanksgiving.  The dates on each page of the notebook were evidence that the mailbox had been there longer than I had been going to Wrightsville.

The prayers spoke of heartbreak, love, hope and all the weaknesses and strengths of the human condition.

A young girl asked God that she might be skinny.

A man expressed gratitude for the memory of his father, who was with him last year at the beach, but has since died.

A military wife shared her fear in an upcoming transfer, having lived in the area for several years.

A boy prayed his father might marry his teacher Ms. Heather, because she would make a lovely step-mother.

Others provided words of comfort and prayer to strangers they will probably never meet.

I can describe it only as beautiful, that people are so willing to offer up all they hold inside, that these prayers are lifted to Him for His greater glory, all smack dab in the middle of the sand.

I'm no longer sure the beach is the main attraction at Wrightsville.  It's possible God's Mailbox was there first, and the beach arrived as a mere accent.

I made my way to the mailbox every day.  It gave me pause to pray for others, and to express what was in my heart.

My letter simply said:  "Dear God, Thank you for reminding me that you are everywhere, whether we choose to see you or not.  Thank you for caring, for listening, and especially for having an open door policy."

Even during 1 and 2 p.m.

No comments: