There was a knock the door…..then another more insistent……then another.
Eli opened his door and called; “Mom, someone’s at the door. ” Then, hearing nothing, he came down and called’ “Who is it?” Still nothing.
He opened the door with the chain still fastened, only to find that there was a box on the landing. Wondering if it might be his Amazon order, he reached out and brought it inside. Sure enough, it had his name on it, but no address, no last name. Not very Amazon. He could not wait to see what was inside this big box, as he waded though the old newspapers… Some, he noticed, were from years ago; headlines of one disaster after another…hurricanes, forest fires and accidents.
This is a great way to start the day, he said to himself, as he finally got to the contents; It was an enameled sign that read “BE STRONG”.
He immediately thought; “Surely this can’t be for me”. He was very strong for his age; his Dad and Grandpa had wrestled and played ball with him, and they encouraged him to do sports. He even crooked his arm to display a sizable bump. Huge…..he figured, for his age.
Who could be telling him to “BE STRONG”? He did, however, like the sign, and figured it could just mean everybody should be. It went on the wall at the head of his bed.
When his mom came home, he told her about it and showed her the sign. She felt the same way.
Time passed, and the same thing happened; box, first name only, old paper wrappings and another matching sign. This one said ” IN ME” One thing for sure; It did not mean him. He hung it on the wall just the same.
In honor of the first message, he continued to work out, knowing that it was up to him to reach the level he thought people expected. His series of achievements were amazing. He had won medals in track and basketball, finished second in his class in tennis, and proved to be very hard to deal with on the wrestling mat.
It seemed odd to continue to leave the “IN ME” sign on the wall, so he put it away. He knew that he had done extremely well on his own……which is, of course, a big part of being strong; “Standing on your own two feet”…. as many of the books advised.
Time passed again, and we find him in his second year of Junior High . During the first week, he saw a fight break out in the gym. It was big Bobby Ray and a new freshman kid. Bobby had pushed him into the wall and was about to smash him in the face. The kid was already bleeding from the nose.
Eli did not like what he saw, and was pretty sure that things would have to be stopped. He was also pretty sure that he could whip Bobby if he had to. There was no question that everyone around watching would cheer him on.
He threw his backpack on the ground, and grabbed a surprised Bobby by the collar; whirling him around face to face. Bobby raised his arm to throw a punch, and Eli was ready to counter with his best Karate move.
Suddenly, a voice popped out of Eli; “Wait………think about it!”
The crowd went silent.
He followed with; “Bobby, what are we trying to prove…..That you can beat up a little new guy, or that we could give them a good fight over nothing…..where we could show off our muscles, and lose teeth?”
“What do you say we walk away and just leave it to sports where there are rules and things are fair?”
A surprised Bobby reluctantly dropped his hands in agreement with an; “O.K. see you on the field.”
Eli replied; “Yah, which one, the corn field?” Everybody laughed, as Eli handed the new boy a handkerchief.
“Welcome to the club man” he said to the new boy, as they walked to the lunch room. “The ice cube is on me!”
Later, Eli was barely home, and the whole thing happened again…..except this time, the sign inside was a big purple one with a white image…..A single clenched hand with a “THUMBS UP!”
Now……..Who do you think?…….He knew full well.
Eli called to his Mom; “Where did we put the “IN ME” sign?”
It really works !……..”Ask Bobby….. he REALLY got lucky……..
and, maybe even me too……..You’ll have to ask the ONE who sent it”
“He totally thinks out of the box!”