Although I could not see it, of course, I am sure that marked across my face was a map of bewilderment as the svelte young woman smiled and handed across the table a package.
“For you,” she said, her face fired with kindness and good will.
“Why? What is this?” I answered, as my hand reached in a tentative way to take the gift.
“It’s for you. Open it.”
I was puzzled. We were in a San Diego restaurant near the bay in National City with my son Andrew and his family. Earlier in the day we had spent several hours with them at their home, had left to go to our motor home for a while, then we would meet for dinner. My birthday was months past, it was not Mothers Day, nor our anniversary…….what was this?
“Open it,” Shawnna said.
The gift was wrapped artistically in brown craft paper with a bow tied around of some kind of black floppy material. I began the unpeeling as everyone looked on, and it came to be one of the most touching gifts I have ever received. You must know the back story to understand.
During the earlier hours that we had spent at Andrew’s and Shawnna’s, I had been fascinated by a cookbook she owned, had looked at every page, and had taken the better part of an hour to copy down the recipe for yeast donuts, and for pizza dough. (Later, a discussion arose as to whether writing down such a recipe is a copyright infringement . . . but that issue must be reserved for another day. I may be guilty of breaking the law!)The book is fabulously illustrated and I was riveted by it. It happens that I follow the blog of Ree Drummond, the author of the great cook book, Food From My Frontier, and other books.
I read the card first, then, . . . now in my hand, appearing as I tore away the brown paper was Shawnna’s beloved book. I weep now as I write, for also a part of the back story is that Shawnna and Andrew have gone through many rough years financially, in their ministry, and even physically. I know well of their struggles. I was deeply touched.
On occasion, a moment comes to us–a gleaming, a glow as from the cherished Northern Lights, or as brilliant flares from such as the Hope Diamond. It illuminates our soul and kicks away at the muck and darkness that fold about us as we trudge through life, then settles down into a deep permanent crevice in our brains. Kind of carried away by the mere gift of a used cookbook, aren’t you, I hear someone say, and resolutely I answer no, for of such moments is the beauty of this world revealed: Eden restored.