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Presence

Treasure this.

By Julia WestonPublished 2 months ago 10 min read
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They say that sometimes life is stranger than Fiction, and it's true. It can be. In my case, it used to be, but my life has long since settled into a routine. Most days begin and end the same way for me, aside from a few minor details throughout the day. I have been a Christian for most of my life. I wasn't living my life or living it more abundantly. I was missing something, and I felt it. Nothing was going on to write home about until now. Let me explain.

It was a day in my life. The day began with a bang. I like to think of it as the big bang of another kind. For indeed it was. I was awake in my kitchen in my t-shirt and slippers, getting my coffee and whipped cream together when It sounded. I tripped over a foot to get to the door to see what the commotion was.

I tried to open the door, but something was blocking it. It opened with a few kicks of my right foot and a cuss word or two under my breath. There sat a big brown box semi-blocking the door and a drone lifting off my deck. I can't say I was expecting anything from Amazon, and as far as I knew, they only delivered packages by foot, not drones.

I brought the box inside my apartment, interested in its contents and where it had come from. There was no label of any kind to be found. They say that curiosity killed the cat. Thank God I don't have one. I saved a life that day, and go figure; a box kept mine. In ways I couldn't have imagined.

So there I was, opening this box, with piss and vinegar because I just so happen to love presents. I've always been somewhat civilized when it comes to unwrapping them to get to what's inside. I sat on my couch, pillaging through three feet of yellow foam peanuts to find a white index card at the bottom with the words, "open me tomorrow, rinse and repeat times twelve." Those words were in all caps with no signature at the bottom.

Was this some joke? I was not impressed. It was quite a letdown from the rush I had just experienced minutes ago. Leaving the shock and frustration behind, I set the box aside and carried on with my day. I went about my daily regime with thoughts swirling.

"Why would anyone go to the trouble of sending a box to someone by drone, let alone me? And what of that index card with those words on it? You can imagine anyone would have their fair share of questions considering the situation. I had many and no real answers. None that my logical brain could make sense of anyway. As my day wore on, I felt a strange excitement rising in my Spirit. I would wait to see what happened. On my best day, I could improve at following instructions, but how hard could open, rinse and repeat be? I opened the box already, anyway. Tomorrow was a new day. I had time to kill and nothing to lose. So I did what I always do. I went to bed. This time I felt a sense of adventure waiting for me the next day.

I woke up around 10:00 A.M., early for me by all standards. I've never been much of a morning person. I don't think I ever will be, but that's beside the point. I got up and did my usual morning routine. I got out of bed, slipped my feet into my slippers and went into the kitchen to have my morning fix. Then I sat down on my couch and drank it. The box caught my eye. Of course, it did; it had been in the recesses of my mind all through the night. I couldn't help myself. I had to go over to it. The box was closed as though I hadn't opened it the day before—something I was not expecting to see. Feeling shaken up, I sat down only to get up and go to it. I had to open it. I had to find out what was going on. So I opened the box again.

This time there was a delicious red apple at the bottom of all the foam peanuts, which happened to be pink. I held it in my hands but for a second when I noticed it wasn't like any apple I'd ever touched. I say this because something strange enveloped me. I may have lost touch with reality for a minute because I could swear I was lying in the hot sun on a beach in Hawaii, having warm sand poured all over my body by a force I couldn't see.

I began to feel parched. Not thirsty so much as in desperate need of more of whatever was happening to me. So I took a bite of the apple. Then I took another bite. It was the best thing I have ever tasted, and I am not usually big on fruit. I couldn't shovel it in my mouth fast enough. I couldn't explain it; I just knew something had come over and, now, into me. Whatever it was, it changed me from the outside to my most inward parts. I could feel it making its way through me. So I let it do its work, utterly oblivious to time. I felt myself drift off. Where to, I couldn't say.

The next time I came to, it was the next day. Without any memory, I had done my usual routine. My coffee was sitting on the end table next to my couch. I opened the box again. Something had changed in me. I sat, reaching for another apple, only to find a bundle of grapes this time. I didn't waste any time. I popped the first couple in my mouth with growing excitement. Joy began bubbling up from my tummy, and I began to giggle. I couldn't stop. Then the giggling turned to a full-on laugh, tears running down my cheeks. I'm sure I would have been infectious if anyone else had been there. All I know is the laughter uplifting my soul in ways that brought healing. And I found myself drifting off into deep sleep like the night before.

The next thing I knew, I was on my couch rifling through the box, finding it strange that, again, my memory was wiped clean up till now. I got dressed and made myself a cup of tea. And I noticed it was empty aside from the sled at the bottom. I never found myself concerned about the gaps in memory so much as aware. Especially when I came to eating a nectarine almost clear through to the bone, I still had a wave of peace, and it stayed. And this was only day three of my open, rinse and repeat. My life was changing. This box was a gift, no doubt. It was the gift that I kept giving for twelve days, on the thirteenth day. I reached into the box and found another index card. This time it said, "I love you, see you soon." At the bottom of the note, it said, "P.s. In case you're wondering, I gave you these.

1. Charity (apple)

2. Joy (grapes)

3. Peace (nectarine)

4. Patience (plum)

5. Kindness (watermelon

6. Goodness (pineapple)

7. Generosity (blueberries)

8. Gentleness (cantaloupe)

9. Faithfulness (pear)

10. Modesty (pomegranate)

11. Self-control ((raspberries)

12. Chastity (strawberries)

"Enjoy the fragrance of the fruit in every room.

Keep the note,

Love, me."

I kept it and the box. I couldn't part with it. It was my way of hanging onto the experience and the knowledge that it had happened to me.

I used those gifts in the following days, and I'll tell you why. Not long after this experience, I discovered I had terminal brain cancer. The doctors did what they did; they told me I had about six months to a year left to live. Nobody likes a death sentence. I didn't either, but I can tell you that it didn't shake me.

I didn't take any treatment. I didn't see the point. I assumed, "I'll see you soon,' and the cancer diagnosis meant, by all measures, certain death. I can't say it was easy. I can tell everyone who knows me, including the doctors were amazed I was still alive at twelve months. And with a peace that defies all logic. The way I went through those months was nothing short of a miracle.

I kept my eye on that beautiful box throughout the months. I framed the note and put it on my wall, reading it several times a day. I made it to my twelfth month and the 24th day of it. It was Christmas Eve, and I needed more time and energy to put up a tree. I had been to my oncologist to get the result of my latest scan. It wasn't looking good, according to the man I had come to trust over the months. I left his office and stopped to get a few last-minute gifts for my loved ones. I was working on getting unique goodbyes together for each of them throughout the months—things to take the sting away for when I was gone.

Anyway, I did my little last-minute shop and came home to find a real Christmas tree with the box under it. This time with Christmas paper with ribbons, a big fat red bow on top, and a tag that read, "Merry Christmas, go ahead and open it tonight." "I know you better than you think, wink wink." So I went to the kitchen and made tea. Who am I fooling? I went directly to the gift, for I knew it was one. More accurate than any others I'd ever received. That had been made crystal clear. I began tearing through the gift wrap the way only I do with passion—this time with more incredible power than ever before, considering. I ripped through the wrapping and barely opened the box when heart-shaped confetti spilled up and out everywhere. That was it.

I wasn't disappointed because I knew better. I threw the wrapping away but kept every single heart confetti to keep in my little box of memories I had been making since the day, the big bang. I made myself a cup of tea before bed and drifted off into a peaceful sleep.

I woke up in the middle of the night to my bedroom door opening. I didn't overthink it and began to drift off again when I saw a man kneeling beside me. At first, I thought It was a dream, but I sat up, and Jesus was kneeling at the side of my bed. Everything in me knew it was him. He smiled and placed his hand on my head. Then he kissed my cheek and gently got up and left the room. He didn't speak. This man was and is everything. I know of no other words to describe him.

I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I would live and not die. I made an appointment with my oncologist the following day to get a scan as soon as possible. Before my scan, I told him and everyone else I could think of about the gifts. I knew I had to. I'll be forever thankful that I did. The test results came back, and I was cancer free. I had a free bill of health. All cancer that had spread throughout my body was gone.

It's true; the fool has said there is no God in his heart. I have several scans and a memory box of items to prove that he is.

The fragrance of those fruits permeates around me. I walk into rooms, and people take notice. They ask me about my perfume. What is it, and where do you get it? I tell them it's Juicy fruit; you get it from God. It's his presence.

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