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The wonder of a box

February 5, 2015

I think every parent has been there. It’s Christmas morning, and there sits your child inside the box of the latest greatest toy you spent hours standing in line to purchase earlier in the month. Instead of dropping the big bucks on the toy, you could have headed to the office supply store and spent less than ten dollars on the biggest box available. Better yet, you could have put out a request to friends to see if any were making any large appliance purchases before the holidays and requested to “simply take the box off their hands”.

I remember as a child when one of my best friend’s family purchased new kitchen appliances. Jackpot! We spent the next few months creating an elaborate house out of the boxes. Using markers, crayons, scissors, and construction paper, we made windows and doors as well as decorated our corrugated home like it was straight out of the pages of Southern Living.

Over the years, my children have had similar experiences only instead of a house, they made the Batmobile, the Space Shuttle, and a personal favorite was the Tardis of Dr. Who fame. Of course, there were smaller creations, but these were the most memorable. One weekend last year, the wonder known as the box took center stage in my littlest’s plans. She had a sleepover with a friend. They didn’t have any big plans until . . . we decided to assemble the new recliners we had recently purchased. Both littles were great construction assistants, but as soon as the chairs were sitting ready, they flocked to the boxes like bees to honey.

After a long and lengthy discussion, they settled on becoming Wonder Women. They created “gold” bracelets out of the remnants of the Styrofoam tube packaging and instead of an invisible jet, they got to work creating their very own time machine AND a magic carpet.

They spent hours and hours just drawing and adding details. There were no squabbles or arguments, but plenty of words of encouragement for each other. They couldn’t have had more fun if we had planned a day full of activities. Uncomplicated, unscripted and unplugged – they embraced the moment. Completely content – oh the adventures they had!

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I sent these pictures to the other momma with the caption of “Our Wonder Women”. Almost immediately, she acknowledged the lure of the cardboard box, fondly remembering both her own adventures as well as those of her sweet kiddos over the years.

Recently, I’ve been thinking (A LOT) about contentment and my tendency on occasion to compartmentalize life making all my details fit inside “my box”. In my ponderings, I remembered these two sweet little girls, and their unbridled joy when I said the box was theirs for the day. Making lists and checking them twice have been my strong suits for a long time. Keeping my hands busy was a close third on my compartmentalizing strengths. Gently, God has been nudging me to just stop and be present in the moment, just like the girls. This morning I saw a photo that perfectly captured my ability to be caught up in what I am doing, but miss the rest of what is going on around me. It is going to be an uphill battle, but I am ready to embrace what God has laid before me, open to all the possibilities.

Keep company with God, get in on the best. Psalm 37:4 (The Message)

And who knows? Maybe along the way that will mean time spent in boxes, blanket forts, and tents in the backyard! I’ll have the crayons ready . . . just in case.

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