I have a love/hate relationship with my doorbell. (and with desserts, and with play dough, and with Spanks, and with shoes, and with exercise equipment...)
It can't help but be a little bit obnoxious, that 'ding dong' sound that echoes through the whole house. No matter what I'm doing, it's rarely convenient to stop long enough to walk down the hall and answer the door.
Sometimes its a surprise visit from a welcomed friend or family member. Or the arrival of something I ordered online. Or girl scouts delivering the cookies I purchased. Or a flower delivery man. Those are the times when I love my doorbell. (Although, if those beloved friends or family members arrive when I'm in my pajamas or the house is trashed, they may be a little less beloved, and if the clothes I ordered online don't fit, I may love myself a little less, and if the girl scout cookies get delivered after I started a diet, I may love all girl scouts a little less, and if the flowers make me sneeze...you get the point)
But, on more than one occasion its been a (gulp) policeman standing on my porch as the ding-dong sounds filled my house. There have been Jehovah's Witnesses, there have been Repo companies, there have been grouchy mail carriers. Once it was our super sweet next door neighbor, and when I opened the door she was standing on the porch holding my two-year-old son's hand, asking me if I knew he was out front. DOORBELL HATRED.
And, as a side note, no matter how happy I am to see anyone or anything, I will ALWAYS hate my doorbell and whoever rang it if they happen to push the button between the hours of 1-4 p.m., when my boys are napping. I strongly urge you never to do that. Strongly.
The worst, though, was the day when the mail man delivered a crate, taped and wrapped, that I had to sign for. Curiously oblivious, I ripped off the tape and bubble wrapping to discover a plainly wrapped package with the return address of "US Embassy, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia."
My sister's ashes, delivered to my door. A package requiring my signature. As if it were any other day, any other ring of that hateful button.
It's really hard to remember that day, that feeling, and still believe that the Lord wastes nothing, not even, especially not, our pain.
But today...today I signed for another package. Today I got a delivery that may never, ever, be topped on the list of wonderful things on the other side of my door.
Today my book arrived, the book I wrote to honor my sister's life and memory. Today I stood outside in my driveway staring at it, crying, with my kids surrounding me and with friends crying and taking pictures.
Today the Lord's promise that He doesn't waste our pain, and He redeems everything, even the ashes, was made evident in my life.
One small girl who's life ended so abruptly, one breathtakingly painful box filled with ashes, one ring of the doorbell that I will never forget.
And then, 25 boxes, 1,000 books, one breathtakingly beautiful life, for everyone to read, for everyone to know about.
The Lord gives. The Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
The irony of my doorbell moments tumbles around inside me as I write. Its wrapped up in the irony of my sister's life. She wasn't tall, or substantial, or outgoing. She wasn't the kind of person who made an entrance in a room. And yet, people who never knew her...KNOW HER.
Because someone small, who in willing to let God use them, can become a spiritual giant- a catalyst to spur us all into walking out the Lord's steps for our lives.
The pain of ashes has become the beauty of redemption. My Beloved Savior took my pain, and gave me His promise that He restores all, in His time, in His way.
I pray that every single time I hear the doorbell ring for the rest of my life, I will remember this truth.
Nothing is wasted.