When we first moved to Seattle, I converted three dollar store holiday boxes into prayer boxes of a sort. We keep these three boxes on a shelf in the corner of our bedroom. These boxes include “Laments”, “Ebeneezers”, and “Dreams & Desires”. When we feel things that are heavy on our heart, we write them down on notes and place them in the boxes.
Laments are for when we want to cry out and just say, “Where is the justice?” or “What is wrong? Why isn’t anything being done about this?” or “I am so sad. I don’t know if I can make it any longer.” Ebeneezers are for faithfulness. Notes of these sort remind us of the faithfulness that has been extended to us in the past. Thousands of years ago, the Israelites would create a large pile of rocks to mark a place where they had seen God’s faithfulness. Thus, in this box, we place our “Ebeneezers” to help us remember where things came together that maybe we didn’t think were going to come together. Finally, the last box contain our continued Dreams and Desires.
This Valentine's Day, Sara suggested we open up the boxes and read our notes. It was a great gift of communication for the two of us as we communed with one another, our dreams, desires, laments, and ebeneezers. The thought occurred to me that we ought to do this every Valentine's Day. And so, our goal is to try to remember to do so next Valentine's Day. These are the ways that rituals and traditions are born in marriages and families. They sort of happen, and then they turn into something annual.