Envelope of Shame
God has shown me many times how His ideas are so much better than mine: through the Bible, through other people’s testimonies, and through science, which is my favorite way of exploring His greatness and genius. But I had never expected Him to show me that day, not only about His plans, but also about how He cares about our feelings, too.
It started one afternoon when I saw that the day’s mail was already on my dad’s desk. Dad was sorting through it, and I walked over to him, curious about what had come today. I even began sifting through it myself, and that was when my eye caught an envelope with one of the neighbor-kids’ names on it.
“Aw, how sweet!” I exclaimed, kneeling down on the floor to check if it really was for us. “Jaxon sent us something!”
I ripped open the top of the envelope, sure now that it was from him. It was a card, with a drawing of two mice sitting together in a little boat, floating down a stream. Um… okay? I thought. It was cute, but I really didn’t understand why the nine-year-old boy would send us that. Despite my confusion, though, I peeked inside it to see what Jaxon had to say.
A couple dollar bills fluttered out and landed gently on the carpet. I became very alarmed. This really was making no sense! I started to feel quite uneasy. But yet again, despite my worry and confusion, I peeked again to read the handwriting inside the card. And I must admit the handwriting was way too neat and loopy.
“Love, Grandpa Francis.”
I can’t describe the feeling of dread that I felt when those last two words I read registered in my mind. It wasn’t for us! It was from Jaxon’s grandfather to Jaxon. I grabbed the empty envelope to read the return address, and it only proved my realization further.
As I sat there in terrible stunned silence, I became aware that I couldn’t hide this situation forever. The mail carrier had put it into the wrong mailbox, but that didn’t change the fact that the card wasn’t mine, and I had to return it. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or scream in humiliation. God, how could I have been so stupid? I wondered and prayed at the same time, wishing the carpet under me would give way.
“Dad?” I finally spoke up. “Um, you’re going to be really mad about this, but I just did something extremely dumb and humiliating.” I paused, my heart beating. “I thought Jaxon had sent us a letter, so I opened it, and I just found out that it’s actually from his grandpa to him.”
“You’re going to have to take it to him,” Dad answered, definitely not happy about what I’d done, but not “really mad” as I had expected.
“Now? Like, right now?”
“Okay.” I placed the money back inside the card and the card back inside the torn envelope. I must admit, I was almost terrified about this. I still couldn’t believe I had done something that impulsive, and I didn’t want to explain it to any of the Francises.
Slowly I walked out of my house, the envelope of shame burning in my hand. All the way I was praying earnestly.
God, don’t let Jaxon be the one to answer the door. I mean, I had been the one who ripped open, admired, and read, his card. And to make matters worse, it was actually a birthday card. I wasn’t in the mood to face him.
God, instead of Jaxon, let Tamara answer the door. Despite her being three years younger than me, I considered Jaxon’s ten-year-old sister Tamara one of my best friends. It would be so much easier to explain to her what had happened, although I wasn’t sure what her reaction would be, and that scared me. But I didn’t know Mr. Francis well enough to want to tell him what happened, so Tamara would have to do.
God, don’t let Jaxon be the one to answer the door. Please let it be Tamara. Please, let it be Tamara. Please, God, please.
But my time of dread had to come sometime, and finally I walked up the steps and knocked on the Francises’ door. I anxiously waited until someone opened the door. Was it Mr. Francis? Jaxon? Or was it Tamara, just like I had asked God for?
“Hello, Carlie,” Mrs. Francis greeted me with her friendly smile.
“Hi, Mrs. Francis,” I replied, surprised but immediately relieved. I hadn’t expected her to be home. “Well,” I went on to explain, still hiding the card, “I just did something extremely stupid and embarrassing.”
“Oh no,” Mrs. Francis laughed, but it wasn’t like she was making fun of me. It was the kind of laugh that you’ve got to laugh with, because it makes you feel comfortable talking about whatever you’re talking about. Even if it’s got to do with opening the neighbor-kid’s mail.
With a lot of laughing from both of us, I was able to explain to Mrs. Francis what happened, and she assured me it was okay. Then, of course, I returned the envelope, said good-bye, and left.
As I walked back home, I couldn’t help but thank God. I had been so nervous and humiliated about what I’d done, and had prayed that Tamara would be the one to answer the door, but was still afraid of what her reaction would be. And instead of that, Mrs. Francis answered the door, which calmed down my nerves, and I was able to face her, and my fears, with laughter.
When I think of this incident, I think about how much better God’s plans are compared to mine. It also reminds me that God cares about how we feel. He cares about what scares us, what makes us happy, even what causes embarrassment for you and me. And to think that Someone so great and amazing as God would care about what pathetic human beings shrink away from, is difficult to believe. But I believe it. And I hope you do too.
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Thank you for reading! I hope u guys enjoyed this. I appreciate ur comments and suggestions, and I hope to post soon!