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    “See to it no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

    « True Conservation: Does the Bible Promote "Green" Living? | On Blizzards »

    A Lesson from the Post Office

    I walked into the post office, early I had thought, but as I struggled through the door with my 3-month-old daughter and her car seat carrier, I realized I should have come sooner. The line stretched all the way to the front door.


    Well, maybe I can skip the line. All I need are some stamps and I can get those from the new machine (which had no line). I touched the screen, swiped my card, and got the regular stamps I needed. Unfortunately, I also needed stamps for postcards, and 3-cent stamps to supplement ones I found in a forgotten booklet from two years ago.


    The machine didn’t carry those. So I turned around, heaved the carrier towards the line, and watched as three (there might as well have been ten) more people came through the door.


    Great, I thought. It’s 11:25 and there are HOW many people in front of me? I am NEVER going to get through this line! Maybe I should just come back later…No. I drove all this way…Oh well, I sighed, at least I have you to entertain me I thought, as I glanced down fondly at Katherine.


    She should have been asleep, instead she was wide-eyed, and quietly contemplating her surroundings. Thank goodness for that pacifier. In front of me was an older woman, probably in her sixties, with short, thick, snow-white hair. It looked so soft.


    She pulled her keys out of her pocket and placed them in her purse. Katherine stared at the keys, watching them catch the orange light from the bulbs in the building, and listened to them jingle. “Is that neat?” I asked. I bent down to fix the pink fleece blanket around her. I always tried to tuck her in snugly, and she promptly kicked it off as soon as I was done.


    I busied myself with her blanket and pacifier and alert, big, blue eyes. I remembered the last time I was in here with her. It was April and I was four months pregnant, and ended up nearly passing out from lack of food and drink. She fussed for a moment, and I popped the pacifier/foo-foo/bo-bo/cork (how many names can one object have?) back into her eager little mouth.


    The woman in front of me turned around. “Ohhh! How old is she?” “Three months”, I replied. “What’s her name?” “Katherine.” Soon we were up to the display case that held the different designs of stamps and labels you could buy.


    “I really liked the Santa stamps this year”, she went on. “They were so cute!” We talked about the different designs for a minute or more, then she looked out the long, plate glass window and sighed. “I don’t like winter. It’s so dreary.”


    It was a gray day. Cold and wet. Snow had fallen the night before, just a little bit, but enough to make the streets and the parking lot nice and slushy. “Yeah. It’s a pretty gray day”, I agreed. I looked down at Katherine who was being exceptionally quiet, and noticed she was now fixed upon the copy machine.


    A woman was hurriedly making copies, and Katherine drank in the sounds and lights. The woman began speaking dreamily, “I’d rather be someplace like Phoenix, Arizona. My son is coming back from there. He said it was blue skies and seventy degrees!”


    “But wait until summertime”, the man behind me spoke up, “and it will be more like 120 degrees!” He had a thick accent. For some reason, I never turned around to look at him until my turn. When I did finally glance at him, I saw that he was tall, with black hair, and tan skin. He was wearing a camel-colored coat. I still am not certain why I never turned around, but the older woman and I resumed our stamp conversation.


    “I found some thirty-four-cent stamps from two years ago”, I explained, “so I hope they have three-cent stamps, or that they will exchange these for me. I’d hate to have to throw them away.”


    “I believe they do have them here. I remember when a stamp WAS three cents.”


    “Oh, yes, they have three cent stamps here. You can get any number you’d like.” This time it was the man in front of the older woman. He was short, probably around the same age as her, wearing a black leather jacket with an eagle on the back and carrying a stack of various sized packages. He had very thick, tinted glasses, and not much hair.


    His demeanor reminded me of my husband’s grandfather, affectionately called “Poppie”. He was very friendly, and I had to smile. The woman in front of me repeated her sentiment to the man, “I was just telling her I remember when stamps used to be 3 cents!”

    “Yes. I remember that…”

    “And you could get one scoop of ice cream for a nickel and two scoops for a dime! (the woman)” The man chuckled and closed his eyes as he fished back in time for a fond memory.


    The woman said, “I remember my husband used to give me twenty dollars for groceries. I could buy a whole weeks’ worth, and come home with change.”

    “That would be nice if I could do that now”, I replied. 

    “Yup, said the man. I remember that. And movies…“

    “Oh yes!” Said the woman. “I saw my daughter once give her kids a $20 bill each to go to the movies and they spent it all! A bucket of popcorn costs what? Nine dollars now?”


    “Everything’s going up”, the man said. I fell out of the conversation as they discussed politics, “the boys in Washington” the man put it, and some more about the good ol’ days.


    I looked up at the large clock on the wall. It now read 11:31am. I looked at Katherine again; she was still transfixed by the copier. Then I gazed out the window at the cars splashing up dirty, melted snow.


    A young woman walked quickly past with her infant carrier, and labored similarly through the heavy, double doors. She took her place in line, and others followed up behind her. The woman I had been talking to before had finished her transaction and told me good-bye as she passed by and walked out the door into the snow she disliked so much. “I wonder where she is heading to now?” I thought aloud.


    “Next, please!” Called the postal clerk closest to me. “What can I help you with today?” She said with a smile. She was about middle-aged, with dyed blonde hair, her original brown color showing through. She wore black-rimmed glasses and a ponytail, and grinned when she saw the carrier.


    She asked about Katherine as she retrieved my stamps and swiped my card. While she was finishing I studied my debit card, then the desk and the pen attached to it by a chain.


    I heard the older gentleman joking with the curly, black-haired clerk next to mine. Their conversation was warm, fun, and inviting. You couldn’t help but be drawn in. They went back and forth, having a grand time.


    I was startled by a baby crying. I peeked at Katherine, but she was still as wide-eyed as ever, silently sucking her pacifier and listening to the other baby. I took a quick look at the new mom.


    She was pretty with ash blond hair pulled back into a low ponytail. Her carrier was green, and was covered by a fleece (or maybe it was wool) covering to help keep the baby warm. She heaved the carrier onto the display case, rocking it gently and trying to quiet her infant.


    I gazed around the post office one last time; A steady, never-ending stream of people. Mothers, fathers, young, old, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, grandmothers, and grandfathers.


    Each one with a unique history. Each one with a unique story. And God holds each and every one so very close to His heart. Wow. That’s all I could think to say. So many people, and He knows every one of them, and everything about every one of them. And He loves each and every one of them more than they will ever know.


    Lord, I prayed, please help me to love them as much as you do. Amen. “There you are!” The clerk declared. She smiled broadly as she finished “Now you have a nice day!” And I know she meant it. 

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