Friday, August 31, 2007


All week I have tried to write a new post. I have had several ideas. And they have been written in my journal in their premature, embryonic form. At some point they will be ready, but not now. They must wait.

Today I understood why.

When I first started this blogspot, a friend encouraged me to explain why I named it The Chambered Nautilus. (If you want to read the explanation go to the July archives.)

I wanted a symbol. A legend for my road map. Something that reminded me of who I am, but far more importantly who God is. And the chambered nautilus shell kept appearing in the oddest of places and the strangest of times.

This past summer I went to spend a few days at my dear friend's house. One of the things we planned to do was exchange Christmas gifts in June instead of back in December. Neither one of us had wanted to mail our gifts.

One day toward the end of our visit my friend explained the story of her gift for me:

Several months after I wrote "The Chambered Nautilus", she was shopping and found a gift for me. She bought it—August 2006. Now it was eleven months later, and she was giving me the gift with the hopes it would still have a special meaning to me.

At the time she did not know her gift would serve a double-fold purpose. You see, I had been searching for a lamp for my bedroom, and I had to have just the right one. I had searched five or six different stores in different towns. I couldn't find one; they just weren't right.

Yes, my precious friend gave me a lamp. A tall, elegant, black, antiqued lamp. But remember I said that it was a double-fold gift. The lamp's base is a nautilus shell.

I read and study by the light of this lamp every morning and night.

Oh, the beautiful, delightful serendipity of my God!
He loves to delight us. To surprise us. To take us off-guard.

And today he did it again.

There is a special lady who comes to our library. You know the kind of person I am talking about—there's just something about them. She is one of these.

We chat. We talk. But one day our exchange was a little different. Deeper. More than just the chatter. More than just the pleasantries. A letter was sent. Hesitantly I told her about this blogspot and gave her the address.

I didn't see her for a couple of weeks. I went on vacation. She went on vacation.

Today she came in. She was carrying a brown box with a card. She looked at me and said, “I brought you something from my trip.”

I took the box in my hands. It wasn't very heavy. I wasn't sure quite what to do. The moment became quite surreal. You know when you can feel something coming? When you can sense that what you are about to do or open will change something—possibly even the inner geography of your person? I knew that was about to happen.

I flipped up the lid. Tissue paper rustled. I knew. I understood. I knew. Delicately I pulled the tissue paper away...and there it lay.

A chambered nautilus shell. Sliced through the middle so that I might actually see the chambers (just like the one on the header of this blogspot).

She looked at me and explained that the other half was in the bottom of the box. This friend gave me two halves so that I might have a whole.

I didn't want to cry. I always cry. But my inner geography was shifting. My friend waved for me to quit...but I couldn't. I went to the back in order to absorb what had just happened and to allow the tears to fall if only briefly.

This evening I held the shells in my hand. Instead of imagining the small chambers and siphoning aperatures, I could see them. I could feel the smooth, cool exterior. The incredible, pearlescent shimmer of this shell was breathtaking.

Because of both my friends' generousity and love I am reminded of who I am.

More importantly I am reminded of who he is.

Oh, the extraordinary, delightful serendipity of my God!

1 comment:

Terri said...

I actually bought the gift in August. So many times I wanted to mail it but I wanted a gift in return for my own: the delight of seeing you receive the lamp. God was in the buying of the gift and He also was in the particular time of giving it. He does all things very well!

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