Saturday, June 06, 2015

A parable in a package?

On May 20 I shipped Bali's lovely hogget fleece off to one of my repeat customers in California. Between contacting me for a fleece and confirming her choice, this customer learned that her beloved BIL has terminal cancer. The fleece would be taking a back burner to spending time with her family and helping them in any way she could. Weighing heaviest on their hearts is a nephew who lives without faith in God and His resurrection; her BIL does not want to die without assurance he will see his son again. I told her I would add my prayers to theirs.

On June 2, the customer emailed to say she hadn't received her fleece yet; should it have arrived by now? What? Yes! I sent it Priority Two-Day! I immediately checked the tracking number on USPS's website. It said the package was accepted at the local post office on the 20th, then departed that office the same day for a Portland sorting facility. Period. No other updates; it's like it fell off the truck.

I called USPS and talked to a rather dour gentleman who told me what I had already learned on the website, then filed a claim for me. The package was insured for the fleece's value so my customer would get her money back, but the fleece was irreplaceable. I let her know what I had done, and we waited.

On June 5, I decided to call and check on the package again. Imagine my surprise – and confusion! – when the automated voice said, "Delivered June 5 at 7 a.m. to the Amity, OR post office." I hadn't even mailed it from Amity, but it is my return address. Thrilled that it was found, at least, I called the Amity PO to ask what in the world had happened. The clerk confirmed that the package had indeed been returned to Amity because of my return address, and then asked if I had heard about the crash. What crash? She said a mail truck had been involved in a head-on collision that resulted in a fire, and most of the packages, all mailed on the 19th and 20th, were destroyed. The few that had been salvaged had been returned to senders . . . and mine was one of them. The clerk said when the package was delivered I would need to examine it to see if the contents were okay.

When I got off the phone I googled the crash, and found this. Amazing that ANYthing survived that!

My box arrived later that morning in a plastic bag, with a letter explaining the unusual circumstances and an apology from the postal service.
The outside of the box was charred, and some of the packaging tape had melted. I was concerned that the thin plastic bag holding the fleece might have melted into the fiber, but when I opened the box, all was well.
When I emailed the news to my customer, I mused, "Could it be that God is sending a message to your family through this remarkable story? That your nephew will be “a brand plucked out of the fire”? (Zechariah 3:2) That is what we are all praying for. Praying for the truck driver, too.

Standing on the promises at . . .

1 comment:

Shine said...

Incredible, encouraging story :) will say a prayer for the family. Your fleece are lovely! Blessings, Shine