There's a crack in the bottom these days, so fear compels me to write quickly. In a blink the crack will grow into the irreparable breech that will sentence it to the rubbish for good. If I do not tell you this now, my Kathy-Girl, my chance will be gone as the basket will no longer be here to remind me. Experience tells me that my motivation to share this with you again will fade without this constant visual aid. I hurry before it is gone.
For ten full years, its service has lightened my loads and its memories have lightened my countenance. The day I first laid eyes upon it is forever etched in my memory. It had been a hard winter. I had given birth to my third child in the Fall, the third in twenty-seven months... without insurance. We made thirteen thousand dollars that year. To say that we were struggling to put food on the table would understate the situation. Lots of folks commented about how thin I was, not knowing that it was because we were hungry.
Feverish with mastitis, it was all I could do to take care of my two toddlers and the baby with an ear infection. It had been weeks since we had any money for groceries, and years since we could afford meat. There was no food in the house, no car available, and we were all too sick to go out anyway. I was desperate for help, for someone to care, or even just someone to know. No one did. We were new enough at the church that no one knew what our life was like, how lonely we were, or how poor. All we knew is that it felt like no one cared. I remember my first time ever trying what Mr. Visionary calls "pulling a Hudson Taylor". There was no one to tell anyway, so I simply prayed, begging Father to show me that He cared, that He could really hear me.
I opened the door to find you, loaded basket in hand, smiling and saying that you happened to be in the area, but I knew full well that folks from your side of town didn't visit our drug-infested neighborhood without a good reason. As you unloaded Cheerios and milk, lasagna and jambalaya, fruit and cheese... manna... I was beginning to realize that you didn't just come, you were sent. "You can keep the basket if you want. My laundry room is upstairs now, and I don't need it!" Every. Little. Detail. I could not believe He told you about that, too. I had been toting diapers to the line in soggy cardboard boxes for months. A new laundry basket was low on the priority list, but still desired.
How I held it together long enough for your quick visit, I will never understand. After you left, and the reality and the Cheerios settled, I experienced a hope that I had not in many years. Life was hard, but my Father was good. I knew it for sure now. He heard me. I know He did because I told no one else.
And I know you heard Him, too.
I have remembered that day innumerable times in the last ten years. Every time I was encouraged. Every time I longed for the day I could be the one with the basket. Every time I thanked my Father for you.
...And for the hope you delivered in an overflowing basket.