Monday, February 7, 2011

God Box

Wedding gifts are wasted on the young.

My husband and I were married at the tender ages of 25 and 24, respectively. We registered, and received the normal cookware, linens, and stemware. We unwrapped multiple packages of  "Beer Fest" glasses and acquired at least two platters dedicated to serving chips and salsa.

A few rogue gifts also came our way. Gifts from rugged individualists who pooh-poohed the registry and bought what they thought we would love.

For example? We were the lucky recipients of chalice shaped like a heart. As you can imagine, we use that all the time. For those nights when only a chalice will do.

We were also gifted with several pieces of pottery. Although these items were not on the registry, I treasure them. Frozen light and heavy grace, these handmade creations inspire me daily.

I recently unearthed one bowl. It had been sitting in a cabinet, getting musty and lonely. I placed it next to my sink, so I could see it every time I washed dishes or sliced apples or smeared peanut butter on bread.

After my husband's mother was diagnosed with cancer, I started calling it my "God Box" in my head. I wrote little notes to myself. Prayers. Things that were tugging at me, mewing like a sick cat.

I wrote about things I needed to release. A formerly close friend  inexplicably cut off all contact. I scribbled her name, and placed it in the God Box. I told myself that putting her name in the box meant that I was releasing my feelings of hurt, and my questions of "why."

I acknowledged my feelings:
 "I am very angry."
"I am jealous of other writers."
"I am scared that the doctor is going to tell me I can't run."

On other occasions, I sent up my wishes and hopes: 

"Please be with Paul's mom."
"Please help [my son] Owen when he starts kindergarten next year."
"Please help me find  love when I am out of patience."

I happen to believe in prayer, but even if one does not, I attest there's power in acknowledging feelings,  good and bad.

It's good to explicitly state hopes and dreams.

And sometimes, when the feelings are not serving you, it's good to state them--once--and close the lid.

And lest this get too preachy, there is one other crucial element of my God Box:

Because sometimes, the closest thing to the divine comes wrapped with the Hershey's label.


Jessica said...

This is such a perfect post, makes me want to dig out the treasured, yet never used and stashed away gifts from our wedding and eat chocolate all at the same time. Beautiful message.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Love this post! Did you know I'm injured and can't run right now? :-( Totally blows. I'm about to lose my mind over it.

Anyhow, I'm glad you have chocolate in there. :-)

Oh, and the unicorn cracked me up! We didn't get any wedding gifts that were too strange - we married way early at 21. We didn't register anywhere though, and only had about 30 people at the ceremony.

Mel said...

I love it. Love the beautiful blue color. It's good you got it out of the closet and let it be pretty in your kitchen. Sometimes writing it down is a great way to release things that worry you. And chocolate. Yes. Unicorn art, not so much.

You made me remember the memory box the kids gave my parents years ago. We bought a heart shaped box from the craft store and the kids painted it, and filled it with little strips of paper of their favorite memories or Grandma and Grandpa. Best gift we ever gave them.

Kim said...

Last night in the wee hours while the baby was crying I was thinking about a new post. I was trying to figure out a way I could write about faith and spirituality without scaring people. And then I saw your post. Which also reminded me of the recovery program I'm in because we talk about God boxes all the time. Loved this post and love the beautiful blue bowl. It's a showstopper!

noisycolorfullively said...

Brilliant. And chocolate does ease a multitude of woes.

Ash said...

LOVE this. Love, love, love it!!

Love that you've found a way to unload the burdens. So important. Though I am sorry to read about your friend. Sometimes there are no good explanations.

Oh, wedding gifts wasted on the young. No truer words, my friend. I have a set of 16 handblown margarita glasses to prove it.


Ms. Moon said...

Most pleasing on every level.

TKW said...

What a beautiful idea! I love the color of your God Box--it's bluer than the sky. I especially love that it contains emergency chocolate.

clearness said...

I love your God Box! great idea.......

Shell said...

What a fabulous idea. And the chocolate is a must.

I'm laughing at the unicorn pic!

tulpen said...

Everyone should have one of these.

And reading this, a wedding gift, a big stone jug popped into my head. Is is filled with corks from wine bottles...but may have a new purpose soon.

Furry Bottoms said...

First of all, that is a beautiful jar. The blue is brilliant. I love it.

Secondly, the idea of you writing down and giving it up to God is good. I do this on occasion... I write something on a piece of paper and I take a candle to a window and burn that paper. The smoke that goes up... I imagine are my thoughts on its way to God. But your way is much safer!

I've had a friend or two cut off contact like that before. The pain, the why can really be a torment. Glad you put that in your God Box. It will help.

tsonodablog said...

Beautiful dish. I love your special way of releasing tension and thoughts.....and prayers. Some people do sticky notes. Some people put notes on the frig and secure with a cherished collectible magnet. Some keep thoughts in an old cigar or shoe box. The important thing is not to keep them bottled up inside.
Lovely post!

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

Let go of a feeling.... get a kiss. Sounds about right to me!

Ms.Wasteland said...

I always hear people say "Let go and let God." or "Give it to God." Sometimes it's good to have something tangible to go along with that sentiment.

Cheryl said...

This is just perfect, Nancy. What a fabulous idea.

Especially the chocolate.

Also, WHY do people go off the registry? There's a reason we registered - it's because it's shit we WANT!

Then again, we were in our 30s. And still, a fondue pot? Really?

Michelle Pixie said...

I absolutely love this! I am going to have to come up with my own box {including my own stash of chocolates!}. You are such a wise one!

LB said...

LOVE IT! I want a God Box, too.

Jenny said...

You should never be jealous of other are the one everyone that writes is jealous of silly girl!

(Florida) Girl said...

What an inspired idea. Love this. And the chocolates don't hurt either.

Erin said...

Now I want to make one, too. So I can be fun and cool like you. How often do you take them out and peruse them? And how often do you have to refill the chocolates?


Totally Ovar It said...

That is so amazing. I'm totally stealing your idea,but will give you credit of course. If anyone ever asks. You are so freaking inspiring. I love that about you.

From Tracie said...

I love your lovely piece of pottery...and I love the use that you have given it. Such a fabulous idea!!

I used to have a God box when I was in high school (only mine didn't have chocolate in it, which is sad) and I haven't thought about that in YEARS.

The unicorn painting? That is hilarious! When I got married, about a month later, my husband's aunt sent him a bunch of pictures and letters and keepsakes from his grandmother who had passed away several years before...including about 50 professional pictures of him and an ex-girlfriend (that obviously had nothing to do with his grandma). Um. I guess that was her way of saying "congrats on getting married...welcome to the family"?

Daffy said...

I love your God box and what it represents. It brings to mind one of my favorite stories. A couple I know...tried for years to have a child and were unsuccessful on their own. Moved on to the adoption process and experienced a couple of devastating disappointments there as well. Heartwrenching stories for this amazing couple...she had a shoe box...much like your God box...where she placed her prayers centering on her family and their desire for a child. Some time later... an infant was found by a postal worker while working his route, under a tree, in a shoebox. This amazing couple I know ended up being the foster and later adoptive family to this beautiful little baby. Story will forever give me goose bumps. And I find it ever so amazing that both the God box and the one the baby was found in were the same brand. I often wonder if the size was the same as well ;o).

MiMi said...

What a beautiful "box!" I love that you use it for prayers. And kisses. :)

Tom said...

Beautiful Nancy. :)

Nancy Crowley said...

Wonderful, thank you. I have ahte perfect box for this - it currently holds buttons but I think I can find a new home for them. Perfect way to put things out of the mind. Writing them down is powerful.

Marla said...

I LOVE this post. You are such an amazing and inspiring writer. I could only hope to write like you someday. I mean that, Nancy. Simply amazing.

Alisha Jaybird said...

Love it!!! You're so clever, Nancy!! And that's a cute little crock.

adrienzgirl said...

Good or bad, feelings are feelings. They are yours. They may be only perspective and not based on the reality or gravity of any given circumstance, however, regardless, they are yours, and they are real. To deny them only cause pent up frustrations.

When we embrace them daily, Give them to God, write them out and put them in a box, speak them to ourselves out loud, acknowledge them in our own ways, the little things stay exactly that. Little. Things.

When we hold them in. Squash them down. Try to bury them under the piles. Eventually, those little things become mountains of messes that get so large you can't walk around them, ignore them or pretend they aren't there anymore. Those little things become the elephant in the room!

Great post Nancy! As always, love it!

only a movie said...

I've done variations of this over the years. You're inspiring me to try again.

And there's always room for a candy jar in my house.


Brenda Susan said...

Great post! I am new to you, found you on the "Best Posts..." blog! I love the God box idea!!