Love in Unusual Wrappings

Beyond a box of chocolates, love arrives in a box of corn or an emptied dishwasher.

Posted in , Feb 12, 2015

Ears of corn in shape of a heart. Photo by acongar, Thinkstock.

Most of us are familiar with the heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and the beautiful bouquets of flowers that are traditional gifts for Valentine’s Day. It’s a wonderful day and a great opportunity to make those we love feel special.

But there’s a deep-seated need inside of each of us to know that we’re loved for the other 364 days of the year as well. And you know what I’ve discovered? Love sometimes comes in unusual wrappings. I’ve been the recipient of some of those unexpected gifts and each of them are precious to me.

Did you know that you can find love in a cardboard box? Let me explain…

Ears of corn in shape of a heart. Photo by acongar, Thinkstock.My daughter-in-law’s grandfather is a farmer, and I usually buy corn from his farm to put in the freezer. It’s so nice to pull out a pack of delicious corn on those cold winter days when fresh vegetables are so expensive at the grocery store.

I enjoy the final result but I dread doing it each year. First, you have to shuck the corn. Then you cut the tips off each kernel and scrape the corn until you’ve got all the “cream.” At that point the corn has to be cooked.

Once it’s finished cooking, the giant bowl of corn has to be chilled in ice, and then it’s packed into bags or plastic containers for the freezer. The final step is cleaning up all the mess in the kitchen. In other words, it’s a lot of work.    

Once you’ve had that delicious frozen-fresh-from-the-garden corn, it’s hard to go back to the store-bought stuff. But this particular summer, I was swamped. When my daughter-in-law, Lydia, asked if I wanted corn from the farm, I told her I wished I could, but I was so busy that there was no way I’d have time to do it.

A week or two later, my phone rang and Lydia said, “Are you going to be home this afternoon?” When I replied that I would, she said she’d be by in a little while.

When she got there that day, I discovered she’d brought love in a cardboard box–bags and bags of corn ready for the freezer–enough to last us all winter. I knew the time and work that had gone into that oh-so-precious gift, and I knew that she’d taken her day off of work to do it for me.

Corn seasoned with love is one of the most special things I’ve ever eaten.

I’ve discovered love wrapped in a number of other unexpected ways. One of those gifts came from my 17-year-old son…

I was devastated after my dad’s suicide. It was one of the most difficult times I’ve ever gone through. I was beyond exhausted emotionally, and I was also physically wiped out from the frequent eight-hour trips to another state to take care of legal work and other details for my dad’s estate.

I’ll never forget what it felt like to arrive home and discover that my teenaged son, Tim, had cleaned the house from top to bottom, done the laundry, and cooked dinner–not just on one occasion, but multiple times. I have no words to tell you how his silent gift made me feel loved and brought comfort.

I found love recently when I opened the mailbox and discovered a lumpy envelope from my four-year-old grandson, Jack. I’ve been having some health problems, and the doctor had scheduled some not-so-fun medical tests. Tests that I’d been dreading.  

Jack wanted to make me feel better so he colored a picture for me, and then he added some of his beloved seashells to the envelope. It’s hard to beat a lumpy envelope filled with the pure sweet love of a child.

My husband has bought me many wonderful gifts through the years, but it’s the little things he does (that are really the big things) that make me feel loved.

Moments like me walking into the kitchen first thing in the morning and discovering that he emptied the dishwasher before he left for work because he knew I was tired or stressed.

Or finding a scrap of paper on the kitchen island that said, “I’m praying for you today. Love ya, Hubby.”  

All of those are memories that I treasure, cherished gifts of love. But there’s one more gift of love that came in unusual wrappings that has touched my life beyond anything else–the gift of a Savior who came as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes.

He’s the gift that keeps on giving and He left us a love letter filled with instructions for our lives, comfort for every situation, and promises that He will always love us and be with us.    

A cardboard box filled with corn. A clean house and laundry. Some seashells and a picture colored with crayons. An emptied dishwasher and a sweet note scrawled on a scrap of paper. A Savior wrapped in swaddling clothes.  

Love in unusual wrappings. Gifts to be treasured for a lifetime.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you. Give something special to those you love today–and then look for ways that you can wrap up some love in unexpected ways for the other 364 days of the year.       

Oh, and while you’re at it, look around you today and see if you can find those moments of love in unusual wrappings in your life.            

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12) 

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