I was in junior high and sitting in my literature class. I must have been bored because I was thumbing through my literature book.
I am a selective reader and I guess I probably have always been that way, but I didn’t find much I liked in literature class. I felt like the teacher was trying too hard to find meaning that I didn’t think was there. I still feel that way. But that’s just me.
Sitting at a desk, I skimmed through several stories that were not interesting and settled on one that drew me in. I finished the story and remember looking up and feeling misplaced, a feeling of having been somewhere else, lost in the story. I brought my book home to share with my mom.
It was The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry.
I read it again that night and even again before the school year was out. My mom bought me the 1982 edition for Christmas that year. Many years later I found the same book in a tiny size and bought several to share with my dearest friends. And my dad gave me a print from the illustrator, P.J. Lynch’s edition that hangs in my home.
I realize today what drew me in.
A love so unselfish, that knows no measure, nor limit.
Have you read it?
Do. Soon. Or again.
I don’t rightly remember the details other than I remember it was my friend, Nina Bagley, who told me that O. Henry was buried in Asheville, North Carolina. And visitors leave coins on his gravestone marker. $1.87 to be exact.
“ONE DOLLAR AND EIGHTY-SEVEN CENTS. THAT WAS ALL.
AND SIXTY CENTS of it was in pennies.”
And so since then, I have wanted to visit his grave and to add my coins.
Making a trek across North Carolina in our camper. (to install an awning) We camped near Black Mountain and drove into Asheville, Saturday morning and found the sweet cemetery. Riverside. It has gentle hills and large trees and many crosses. We found his marker without difficulty and I stood and placed my coins atop the other coins placed before me.
No great fanfare, just a simple marker. And I was satisfied.
Reading the story again today, another sacrificial gift undoubtably comes to mind.
One we cannot fathom.
We can’t place pennies as a tribute.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15
Seems all things that touch our hearts can be circled back to our great Creator.
Thank you for reading. It means much to me.