Monday, November 28, 2005

The Treasure Box

I have one. I know that Jack Exum has one, too. I would assume that God has His own version. Of what? let me explain...

Yesterday was a banner day for me at worship. For some reason, at different times, seven little children came running up to hug me. I got on my knees for each one, hugged them back, and thanked them. What a wonderful gift and honor! Then one little girl with the beautiful name "Fonda Lilly" came up, shyly, bearing a picture of Snow White and the Prince that she had colored and 'signed' for me. I promised her that I would have it forever. It would be placed in my treasure box.

In that box (really a series of files) are all the drawings and colored pictures and scribbled 'notes' that children have brought me over the year. My children's work is in there, too. For example, my son recently left me a note saying he was sorry to miss me since I'd been out of town, but he had to go to work. It said he was looking forward to seeing me in the morning. Coming from a sixteen year old, I thought that was wonderful. So it went into the box.

On dark days when things seem to be falling apart I get out my treasure box and go through it. Thank you cards from churches I visited (today, I put one from the Pitman Church of Christ in New Jersey in there. Thanks, ladies!), nice personal notes from people whose parents I helped in their last days, outlines of children's hands -- kids who now have their own kids -- along with hearts drawn with great effort all around the edges. and loving cards from my wife.... all in my treasure box.

I am a man who is painfully aware of his limitations and flaws. I live in a place where clouds and cold rule most of the year... and I get depressed in the cold and dark. The treasure box helps me survive and, yes, even thrive nonetheless. I have no storehouse of treasures on earth; we prefer giving to getting and even refuse to pile up a retirement account. My retirement plan is to die. In the meantime, when I need a hint of heaven, I open the box and remember the pure hearts and sincere hugs all this represents.

I am thankful for them all.


At 11/28/2005 02:20:00 PM , Blogger Laurie said...

HI there Patrick:

From one treasure collector to another, your blog blessed me today. Thank you. One of my favorite treasures is a pack of letters given to me when I attended what is called the Walk to Emmaus. Though it has been 11 years since that retreat for me, those letters mean so much and they have moved across the United States and are still part of my haulings! Another treasure that was added just this year: and autographed magazine, from this guy in Michigan who made me laugh when I was going through some really dark nights. Thanks for reminding me how much our memories mean.

Be Blessed.

At 11/28/2005 05:10:00 PM , Blogger TCS said...

I have one of your blog entries in my box, You will have to guess which one.

At 11/28/2005 05:10:00 PM , Blogger DJG said...

I keep all my cards (birthday, thank-you, whatever) in a file at my office. It is usually there that I need the lift....

{I can't even imagine the winter funk I would fall into if I lived in Michigan..!!}

At 11/28/2005 06:29:00 PM , Blogger That Girl said...

In my treasure box, there is a home made card from a little boy that was in my 1st grade Sunday School class. My grandfather had died and Anthony's card read, "Hope he got to heaven safe and sound."

I'm sure he did!

At 11/29/2005 10:39:00 AM , Blogger Serena said...

Hey, we've got the same retirement plan as you!
Love and shalom,

At 11/29/2005 11:54:00 AM , Blogger PatrickMead said...

TCS, I have no idea which one made the cut, but thanks!

DJG, if you only knew how bad it was to live among the frozen chosen....

TL, Love it, love it, love it!

Serena, isn't it cool to put your treasures in heaven and live on the edge down here?

Laurie, thanks for your thoughtful note and your kind words. I am humbled by them

At 11/29/2005 05:28:00 PM , Blogger David U said...

PM, I am keeper of treasures also.
I know I can't take them with me, but they sure bring me joy from time to time while I am still here.
Your posts are a daily treasure box!


At 11/30/2005 03:18:00 PM , Blogger Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

TCS - I know you so well already from our blogging experiences and in talking with you by phone that I think I can correctly guess which one (or two) of Patrick's posts you've saved in your treasure box. You wanna try me?! Patrick would probably like to know!

Patrick - every post you write deserves to be in a treasure box! In fact, that would be a good name for your book you put together from all your blog posts!

Maybe we can do one from Grace Notes, too. I haven't had time to comment much lately and haven't commented on your latest Grace Notes offering, "Acapella in the Dark", but it really moved me deeply and I've cried over it several times, along with praying for Nancy, of course. I directly mentioned (and linked) that post from my blog last Friday because of how I feel about music and how inspiring it can be.

Music in my heart is one of my vast treasures I keep close! I'm a treasure keeper, too, of cards and notes and letters, and have been all my life.

I have every letter my younger sister has ever written to me from the time I left home at 18 (she was 11) since! And that was many, many years ago. I even typed up (on the computer) every letter of hers from then until she turned 20 and put it all in a homemade book for her three daughters to have to know how their mom was when she was a teenager and what she thought and all. Her letters are hilarious and spiritual and very creative and my nieces have loved having their books.

At 11/30/2005 04:23:00 PM , Blogger Nancy said...

Hey, Patrick! Great idea. I also have sympathy on the cloudy day thing -- I lived in Ithaca, New York for what seemed like 47 years (from 1999 to 2001!)and it was de-pressing!

Thanks for the comment,

At 12/01/2005 08:44:00 AM , Blogger lee said...

Nancy, I lived near lovely Ithaca from '89 to '91. Until then, I considered my central Indiana prairie the US icecap. Until Ithaca, actually Trumansburg, I thought snow only fell sideways. (Indiana does a good blizzard.)

Your post brought richer perspective to my recent experience:
We found several "treasure" boxes in my mother's well edited and well organized condo after she moved to heaven last month. As our family gathered for thanksgiving in October, each of us unwrapped "our" bundle. I had no memory of writing such revealing, heartfelt letters to her from college; my children were rolling on the floor over their primary scribblings tucked tenderly away. Finding what mattered to her blessed us again.

At 12/01/2005 12:00:00 PM , Blogger Cheetah, the cheetah said...

One thing I've kept for many years was given to me by a 4th grade Sunday School student. It was a piece of construction torn in the shape of a cross and had written on it: "Thank you for being my teacher. I am baptized because of what I learned from you."

He has grown up to be a young man reaching people through music and I am proud of him and treasure his words.

At 12/01/2005 04:17:00 PM , Anonymous Clarke said...


Greetings from damn and cold Portland, Oregon.

Thank you for writing this post. My son is 19 months old today, and due to your post, I think I will start a new tradition at my house.


At 12/02/2005 01:11:00 AM , Blogger Niki said...

Mine is more like a treasure filing cabinet. Yes I'm a bit Type A, but you have to admit it sure makes it easy to find exactly what type of encouragement I'm looking for.

We began treasure (memory) boxes when each of our three children were born. They are now 6, 3, and 2, and they love to add new things to their boxes, and I enjoy telling them the stories that go along with their "treasures".

I grew up in WI, does that make me a frozen chosen? :) I much prefer Colorado...if I'm going to be cold, I want mountains to be part of the deal!

God bless you Patrick!

At 12/02/2005 10:07:00 AM , Blogger K. Rex Butts said...

My treasure box is one of Photos and memorabilias from encounter with people who have been extenions of God's grace to me during different momements in my life. Some of those people I will probably never meet again on this side of life and that is just one more reason why I look foward to the coming of Christ, when all of God's people will be gathered together once again for eternity.

At 12/02/2005 01:12:00 PM , Blogger Lee Hodges said...

I recently visited the first congregation I worked with in Pennsylvania. While I worked there a young lady of 5 did a drawing about the sermon I preached that day. She is now in her middle 20's and was elated when I gave it back to her after all this time. What a joy my "Treasure Box (File)" has been through the years.

At 12/02/2005 01:17:00 PM , Blogger Lee Hodges said...

I recently visited the first congregation I worked with in Pennsylvania. A little girl of 5 had drawn a picture related to the sermon I preached way back then and gave it to me. She is now almost 30 years old and I returned the drawing when I visited. She was elated. What a blessing my "Treasure Bod (File)" has been through the years.

At 12/02/2005 08:40:00 PM , Blogger Serena said...

Patrick, The cool thing about living on the edge is that if you do fall off, underneath are the Everlasting Arms. I can certainly declare His faithfulness.
Love and shalom,


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