Actual Food — Postal

Sustenance for The Spirit

No longer will I use the term “snail mail” with a negative connotation. In the future I will attempt to turn the adjective/adverb “postal” to a positive note. The reason for my determination and resolve has to do with something that happened this afternoon. It might have to do with small town life as much as anything, but I’ve got to give the Post Office it’s due.

I realized at 3:29 p.m. that I had not purchased a birthday card for my soon to be seven-year-old grandson, much less mailed it. I calculated the amount of time involved in finding and buying a card, getting to the post office with a stamp, and getting my vital correspondence into the day’s mail before the 4:30 p.m. deadline. Since my grandkids are still young enough not to know the difference, I buy their birthday cards at a local dollar store, which gives me extra cash to enclose. Who doesn’t enjoy getting a cash surprise in a birthday card? The main gift had been ordered online, with fingers crossed that it would arrive in time. Did I mention that the referenced birthday was four days away and the destination for the card and gifts was Spokane, Washington, hundreds of miles away? There was no time to dilly-dally.

My panic button pushed, I set aside my mystery book at a pretty exciting place in the plot, and jumped in the car, only to realize I needed to go back in the house to get a stamp. That way I wouldn’t waste time having to drive back to the house for the required stamp before heading to the post office. I had a plan. I only needed to work the plan.

I know short cuts in our little town, so of course I took one with no traffic lights but lots of rather deep dips in the road. Overall I think I saved time. Choices were limited but I managed to find a card that spoke birthday in seven-year-old humor, and even held an inside joke. Perfect. Purchased. Next stop, the United States Post Office. I found a sliver of shade just to the side of the drive through area to park, motor running, sign the card, put it into the bright yellow envelope and add the necessary addresses. By this time a few other cars had maneuvered around me to get to the drive by receptacle, so I was feeling even more pressure to get this card in the mail. Evidently I wasn’t the only one who had almost forgotten to get an important someone’s birthday card in the appropriate mail repository by 4:30 p.m.

Relieved, I put the card in the mail and headed home. As I drove into my driveway, stopping the car, I looked to my right to grab my purse. Just as my heart rate had slowed to normal, my panic began again. Setting there on the passenger seat all by itself was the stamp! I did what any self-respecting grandmother would do and headed back to the post office. Even though I was going through all kinds of negative scenarios, I was hopeful that somehow I could get there before it was too late. As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed the car time was 4:31 p.m. but there was no vehicle or person pulling mail out of the mail bin. There was hope. I hung onto that glimmer as I went inside, and waited patiently for what felt like at least a short eternity for my turn. I was thankful the doors were not yet locked. Another hopeful sign. It was finally my turn, so I approached the mail service lady with only my stamp in hand and did my best puppy dog eye impression above my mask. I explained my predicament. She looked like she might be a grandmother too.

She was amazing. It was at least 4:35 by this time. She said she was just about to head outside to get the mail out of the drive by receptacles and would gladly attach my stamp! It probably helped that it would most likely be the only large bright yellow envelope going to Spokane, but she was so nice and agreeable at a time when she could have been tired and cranky. This was clearly my emergency and she acted like it would be no problem at all, looking for one specific envelope out of many (I had seen several more vehicles pull up to deposit mail while I was standing in line).

Nothing is more encouraging in life than a person being nice, especially when they have every reason to be otherwise. One of my t-shirts reads, “Kind people are my kinda people.” I’ve been fortunate to be around a great many kind people in my life. They remind me of the kingdom Jesus spoke of as He begins His model prayer, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9–10, NIV) As an alternative to worry, Jesus offers, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33, NIV) In the Psalm 145, David describes kingdom, “All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.” (Psalm 145:10–13, NIV) Bible scholar N.T. Wright talks about God working through us, the humankind created by God, to work His plans. This is where kindness and kingdom merge. We become instruments of God’s grace, love and hope.

What more can we “hope” for on earth but to be treated with unexpected kindness, usually a small thing that means exponentially more. We see a bit of God in action and we realize He’s present, working in many lives simultaneously. I witnessed a glimmer…in the post office. Be on the lookout for glimmers of hope today and praise God! Have a great day.

A skeptical baby boomer, a Christian woman with a desire to share honest messages from a heart shaped in a life of stability, yet facing a world on the edge.