“What’s this?” I said, picking a book up from my friend Tara’s dresser.
“Oh — my friend gave it to me and Russ for our engagement. I haven’t read it yet though. It’s about a woman whose mother puts her prayers in a box, and the daughter tells about finding the boxes after she dies.”
I turned the book over and read the back cover. Then, I opened it up to read the synopsis on the inside cover. I put the book back on Tara’s dresser and filed away the thought that perhaps I could find time to read it in the next couple days — in between my duties as one of Tara’s bridesmaids.
The next day, with time on my hands before the photographer arrived, I headed out into the Orlando sunshine. I spread myself out on a patch of grass and started to read. I finished the book that day. But it took another month before I started my own God Box.
What is a God Box? Simply put, another way of doing something many of us already do. A friend is going through a difficult time and you say you’ll pray for him. Or a request comes into your e-mail inbox asking for prayers for someone. Usually, I just say a quick prayer right then as I know I’ll forget otherwise.
But what did Mary Lou Quinlan’s mother do? She scribbled her prayer on a piece of paper, dated it, and put it in a box — the God Box. Mary Lou knew about the box. She would overhear her mother talking on the phone to a friend and reassure that friend saying, “I’ll put it in the God Box.” She didn’t know until after her mother’s death, however, that there wasn’t just one God Box — she found many of them around her mother’s house. All filled with scribbled prayers on scraps of paper.
A couple weeks ago, while crying over my fears and worries, I did an excellent job emptying a tissue box. The next day, I looked at it and thought, “This would make the perfect God Box.”
A few days later, the opportunity for my first prayer came into my inbox. A friend updated me on what was going on in his life, and asked for prayers for he and his wife as they were both going through some medical difficulties. I grabbed a piece of scrap paper and scribbled down, “For ____’s eyesight and _____’s upcoming surgery. 11/13/12.” I folded it up and put it in my God Box. Another friend asked for support on Facebook. I wrote some words on the website and then scribbled a prayer for her on a piece of paper and put it in.
Eventually I added a few prayers for myself. Today I added my first prayer of gratitude.
I find my God Box is a concrete way of practicing the “Let go, Let God,” philosophy. I can say I’m leaving it up to God, but there’s something definitive to me about putting pen to paper and putting the worries, fears, anxieties, joys, and expectations in a box — saying, in effect, “I don’t know what to do or where to go with this … so I’m turning it over to you. Thanks.”
Doing so also reminds me of one of my favorite signs. It reads, “Good morning. This is God. I will be handling all of your problems today. I will not need your help. So, have a good day.”
To this I say, “Thanks. And while you’re at it, can you handle all the problems in my God Box?” God, of course, says, “No problem.”
What prayers would you put in a God Box today? Take a look around — empty boxes abound. Find one and start your own God Box.