by Erica Landis
A surprise package arrived in the mail a few days ago. The return address was an old friend. Mandy wrote in her note that she was unsure about sending me this gift. It was a picture frame that she’d had for a few years. She’d never even put a photo in it. She just liked the rust colored leaves and the pearly dragonfly perched on its lower left corner. And she wrote that it reminded her of Noah. Mandy had met my son, Noah, once when he was about seven months old. He died a year and a half later in a swimming pool accident.
Mandy wrote that she almost didn’t send me this package. She tried a few times and kept changing her mind. She was afraid maybe it would arrive on a bad day. On a day that I just couldn’t handle a reminder of Noah. On a day where one thing just compounded another. You know those days, I’m sure.
She was afraid I wouldn’t like the frame as much as she did. I wouldn’t like the color or maybe even I wouldn’t want a hand-me-down as a gift. As I read her note, her honesty and sincerity was a gift in itself. And of course the tears flowed as I realized someone like Mandy was thinking about me. And Noah.
The frame (which, by the way, I LOVE) came in a box that, perhaps, was no accident. Mandy packed this frame in a box that originally contained a caterpillar kit. The kind for kids where a butterfly appears out of a cocoon in a matter of weeks. Mandy has a five year old son, Atticus. I could just picture him opening this box for the first time. But the message on this box stopped me cold.
“The Miracle of Metamorphosis is About to Begin!
It’s Time to Grow!”
Mandy’s timing could not have been more perfect. Because I’ve reached a pivotal point in my cocoon. I’m battling my inner voices. The voices that tell you to “BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE…BECAUSE IT’S MORE THAN MANY HAVE”. And I totally agree. One million times over, I know this to be true.
But at what point does this stop you from reaching for more happiness? More fulfillment? More joy for me and my little family? I can still be infinitely aware and thankful for what I have while still growing into my butterfly. But it’s the fear and the self-doubt that usually stops me. Just like Mandy doubted whether sending this gift was a good idea repeatedly, I also doubt myself on just how much more happiness and fulfillment I’m entitled to. Just how capable am I? How happy should I be at a job? Just how many chances should I take? How happy should a person really be??!
I recently referred to myself as a “joy catcher”. My goal of finding joy in as many places as possible never wanes. Because I know what a day feels like when all the joy is suddenly gone. In an instant. And it is the fight of your life to get it back.
Thank you, Mandy. Thank you a million times over for this reminder. And look, I put a picture in this frame. And I placed it on the window ledge in the sunshine. ❤