Grief and Loss

Toothpicks to treasure

It was a simple fruit tray with toothpicks sitting beside it. Pretty common practice in modern-day American meeting spaces. Nothing “special” about it. Nothing out of the ordinary. 

But in some moments, God shows you how something so ordinary can become extraordinary. 

 I saw treasures in those little cups beside the fruit tray. Little wooden sticks with birds atop them…waiting for my imaginative heart to take them out of that cup and into the wide world of creativity. 

My heart saw an art project so close to my heart, one is been dreaming of doing ‘someday’ … while my eyes saw a utensil for picking up fruit. 

Birds… representing the ultimate faith in their Leader. Birds that fly so high and so free in the sunshine. Birds that fight those strong winds and burrow deep into the twigs & leaves in their nests during storms. Birds, oftentimes gathering together to be stronger in the storm…birds that live for today, and don’t worry about tomorrow.

Birds represent freedom to me. I watch them flying high and hear them chattering loudly on those sunny days and it reminds me of my children. The ones both here and at Home….how they each have wings to fly, but these little birds here on earth must be trained if they are to fly Home to freedom one day. 

And we are their trainers. We spend our days, our years training our toothpick birds to see what treasures they can be, if only they try. They can be free from the cages of society and this world… If they fly free in Christ. The definition here on earth compared to heaven so incomparably different, though. 

Freedom in Christ here means we can fight the wind and storms- and know we will (someday, somehow) survive. Whether survival here on earth or moving into Glory land… We will live. We will fly again one day. We will fly free and high while the sun basks it’s glow on our feathers spread wide amidst the deep blue sky. We will feel the wind lift us up and carry us through. We will live free. 

Freedom in Christ heavenward though, how much more glorious it must be  than our humble definition here on this big blue marble we call home. Freedom in Christ when we find ourselves heaven-bound, it means nothing bad.  

Think about that. Absolutely No bad. Promised forever. Nada. Zilch. 

No bad days. No more exasperated sighs at the ‘one more things…’ of our days. No more bickering matches or nasty emails. No more pain. An end (for all eternity) to tears. No more puffy faces and running mascara. No more dissapointment. Never falling again. 

A life of walking only in faith. And never ever ever having to let go of those we love in the depths of the depths of our heart for “the last time”. 

 It means flying free with all those we loved here on earth but in such a grander way. A way we can’t even imagine here. Our best image of heaven can’t even begin to compare to its’ truth. And then never having to leave. Never saying goodbye again. Flying free forever.

 What a wonderful and truly true freedom it is, freedom in Christ when we get to fly Home.  

These birds- simply felt shapes glued to thin wooden sticks, created to be thrown away… Now a treasure.

 A reminder of the freedom we have in Christ. A reminder that because of this freedom, we can choose today to see toothpicks as treasures. We can choose to see birds fly high even on the darkest days. We can choose joy. 

Many days may seem much like a toothpick. Days that are ‘ordinary’ rather than ‘extraordinary’. Days that could be called  ‘mundane’ rather than ‘imaginative’.  

But what if you take those ‘toothpick days’,  and let your wings open a little more and let the wind carry you a bit higher… And you break through the clouds and you see the glory of the sun reflecting boldly in a miraculous rainbow high above those clouds. High above the gnarly winds and harsh temperatures. What if you let yourself fly in that freedom for just a moment? 

What if today isn’t just a plain old “toothpick day” but really a treasure, given to us as a gift from the One who made us, who loves us, who is making sure our heavenly home is just perfect for when we arrive? 

What if you choose joy because you know what lies above the clouds- even on the most stormy of days? 

What if you take your ‘toothpick days’… And see the treasure that lies within them? 

A toothpick can only become a treasure if you choose to see it that way, though. To some, ‘toothpick days’ will always be just that- ordinary, mundane, “throw away” days. But to you, ‘toothpick days’ could be treasure filled days. Days where you create joy, create freedom, craft new beginnings and high hopes of the future… because a toothpick can be a treasure- if you choose to see it. 

So, ‘toothpick day’ warriors- spread your wings and fly to the One who can turn today into a treasure. 

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