DSCN0170When I stuffed her head and arms down into her body cavity, one of the detached and dangling arms got hung up inside of her torso and I had to pull her out and try again.

What is it about bodies? They are so uncooperative!

The next time I was more succesful. I shoved both her  arms, her dismembered head, and her trumpet inside of her, then I picked up her folded body and jammed it  into the cardboard box in front of me.

I duct taped the top closed.

My Christmas yard angel was packed up —  trumpet, arms, head and all —  to close out another Christmas season.

But not all of life is that manageable.

On my wife’s way home from work this week, she experienced chest pains. They were so painful, she drove to a fire station and the fire people called an ambulance and it took her to the hospital.

As I stood and watched strangers load up my wife — stuff her in a big box with wheels on it —  I could feel it. I might have some kind of modest control over my Christmas angels, but other really important matters,  way out of my control.

By the time the whole ordeal was over, fortunately, all my sweet wife had to recover from was tape.  Transdermal nitroglycerin patches, tape patches for her heart monitor — when she came back home, her skin showed the wear and tear of too much tape.

We were fortunate. She didn’t have a heart problem. She is home; we ate ice cream with chocolate sauce and whipped cream today to celebrate my birthday, life is good.

But it’s a reminder, this little detour to the hospital. We are fragile, and we aren’t much in control of some really significant things.

Whether we are being stuffed in a box, tape up by doctors, or just commuting home with the full expectation of arriving safely, life can happen, and in a moment life can change.

One day we are out in the front yard blazing with bright lights and glory, the next day we are in a box in the back of the garage — or in the ground.

We have less control than we think. We can be boxed in a moment.

But it’s okay. I’m okay about this and good about that, because it has come to me that God has more control over our lives than we have ever imagined and if he has more good for us we will have it, and if he doesn’t, we won’t.

The length and even the quality, of our lives is not in our hands, very much. Yes we can eat well, or not, and exercise, or not, and that makes a difference, and we can drive home carefully, but in the end there will be an end that we won’t determine.

It’s come to me, even this week, through circumstance and through revelation, that every good thing that happens to us, every success and every bit of progress and every bit of wealth and accomplishment and every moment of safety and every delicious bite of ice cream with people we love and every bright moment in which we light up the yard, and every return home — it is all given.

The power to live, to shine, to avoid being folded into the box — given.

Are you alive? Give thanks!

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