gift of wordsIt was the end of another school year – a big deal to a ninth grader, make that tenth grader. A lot happens in a year, especially at that age. So much happens it’s easy to forget about the little things we tend to take for granted along the way. There were the studies, lots of studying, social events, like the Sadie Hawkins dance, and a school play. Between pre-season and the regular season, it was a grueling lacrosse season. There were out of town tournaments along with out of town mission trips and retreats. Never a dull moment… well, a free moment anyway.

In some ways, it seems like an eternity since she started high school, in other ways it seems like just a month ago. I recall our youngest’s apprehension starting high school, I can even recall some of my own for that matter. When our little one, who’s bigger than her mom, went to clean out her locker we discovered some interesting things, like the pencil pouch with the holes punched in the appropriate place to carry in the good ole’ trusty three-ring binder that still had the tag on it and never got a single day’s use.

Our youngest also discovered the micro-lunch box her mom had long since given up hounding her about. The school year was so long I guess the youngest of our daughters forgot that she’d turned the top of the micro-lunch box, where a drink was cleverly designed to be carried, into a keepsake storage facility.

My wife began exploring the papers within the transformed lunch box to determine what was worth saving, what needed to be tossed, and generally making sure nothing living inside had taken over. In the very top of the lunch box there were only two notes, two pink notes, what used to be sticky notes.

I watched as my wife sorted through the papers and get noticeably quiet and deliberate with the old sticky notes. It looked like reverence. “They’re from Ali,” my wife said in almost a whisper, “From the first day of school,” she mumbled as she read the keepsake notes from one of her daughters to another. “I forgot about that,” I said, “She wanted Ali to make her lunch the first day of school,” I recalled. My wife had started that ritual with all three of the girls as they were living through school days.

The first note had been sitting on top of the lunch box written to strengthen and encourage a girl starting high school by a big sister that would be headed off to college a week later to finish her last semester. The one who when leaving for college the first time sprang leaks in her little sister’s heart.

The second note was strategically placed inside the lunch box to be read at lunch time on her little sister’s first day of school. The notes were written with care and love, they even said so… “I better save these,” my wife said softly and set the aside as she finished cleaning things up. She will.

We tend to forget specifics and details in life, then there are times when one gets documented, like the sisters lunch notes, and we recall in detail the struggle, the strife, the stress, the success, the sentiment, the love and the memory. Words get bandied about daily, some out of necessity, some out of luxury, but all of them underestimated.

The gift of words should be measured and weighted… then cherished and saved… to remind us of the exact feelings of love and care spent along the precious journey…