It was ten years overdue and found as I was sliding a tin of old Christmas cards into the trash.
An unopened Christmas card, addressed to someone other than the ones at this house, caught my eye in the midst of the haphazard pile.
Immediately two thoughts popped into my head.
- Lalalalala just let it go. You didn’t see anything, and it’s been sitting in the basement for years.
- Well, maybe you could just open it and see what kind of card it is. It’s been sitting in the basement for years. THEN you can throw it away.
Here I was, the days following Christmas, trying to face honestly all of the stuff we do not need, and tins of old Christmas cards fit the bill. I had finally decided to get on the declutter bandwagon with my husband and was taking precious time to decrapatize basement bins.
Something that should have taken seconds or minutes, stretched into days, but it was worth it in the end.
I chose option 2 and opened the card. I was not expecting to read a heartfelt note of thankfulness from a parent to a teacher or care-giver, find a hand-drawn picture from a child, and have two Regal Cinema gift certificates fall out. Thankfulness ten years overdue.
What do I do with this?!!
Knowing that I couldn’t unsee, unopen, undo what I had done, I turned to facebook and entered the name on the envelope. One matching result came up, showing that we had one mutual friend. I sent a message to the addressee, and waited in the unrest.
A few days later was New Year’s Eve. I ran into our mutual friend during the downtown festivities in our city. She knew the card’s recipient who now lived in California. I asked if she would also message and ask her to check for my communication. I soon got a response with a mailing address.
Tucking the card, picture, and movie passes into a new envelope, I mailed them off. A few days later, a response came that the surprise flashback had been received. The tone of the message was grateful. I could finally check off the box for my basement Christmas card declutter project.
Sometimes things take longer than expected. Sometimes we don’t hear a thank you for our efforts, even though the overture was made, the picture drawn, the gift sent. Sometimes the reward for our hard work and effort sits in someone’s basement amongst their old Christmas pictures and cards for a over a decade. Sometimes the thanks gets missed through no fault of anyone’s, and oversight, a missed house number, and a busy season buries a treasure. Sometimes a discovery is made leaving the choice to engage or ignore it.
Sometimes, at just the right time, the treasure is found, the word spoken, the gift sent, the heart refreshed. It’s never too late to restore what’s been lost.