The Message in a Box of Chocolates

How God looks after us through the love and kindness of others

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Posted in , Jan 17, 2017

A box of chocolates and a message from God

My sister Priscilla recently went to California for New Year’s. Before she left, she asked me one very important question: “Do you want me to bring you back a box of See’s Candies?”

She was asking because I love, love, love See’s Candies. Not just because they taste like everything that’s right in this world. But because See’s and I have a bit of a history.

Allow me to take you back to the year 1997. It was the summer before my first year of high school and also one of the hardest times of my life. I had to undergo brain surgery to remove a benign cyst sitting on my optic nerve. It was pretty scary.  

Luckily, during scary times, people usually send you chocolate. And many a box of candy appeared that summer. One box, though, stood out amidst the sea of Russell Stover and Godiva. A box of See’s lollipops, each square-shaped with a shiny gold wrapper like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was a gift from one of my dad’s co-workers. I’d never heard of See’s Candies, but I was delighted to discover the brand was headquartered in far-away San Francisco, which seemed like a very exotic place to my 14-year-old self.

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Ever since then, I’ve had a soft spot (or, you could say, a gooey caramel center) for See’s. The candy isn’t sold everywhere in New York. But it’s a common sight in the airports of California. So, every now and then, whenever one of my sisters travels to California, they bring me back a box of the good stuff.

I wanted to say yes when Priscilla asked if I wanted a box of See’s. But I was in desperate need of a break from sweets. It was the week after Christmas. And my body was about 70% sugar cookie. So I told her no. 

After New Year’s, Priscilla returned home from her trip…minus See’s. The next day, I found myself at work, wishing I’d given Priscilla a different answer. I was having a tough day, working on a story about the mystery of suffering for Mysterious Ways magazine. The topic was fascinating, but required me to really think about all the times I’ve suffered. To be honest, it was kind of putting me in a funk. “If only I had some See’s!” I thought.

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The next morning, I walked into the kitchen at work and found a white box sitting on the counter. I stared at it, mesmerized. My co-worker Kate Norris was standing next to it.

“Is that a box of…See’s Candies?” I asked.

“Yes!” she said. “Every year, my relative sends a box for the holidays. There was too much sugar at home, so I brought it to work.”

It was only later, when I was back at my desk with two of my favorite pieces of See’s, that the significance of it all came to me. Once, during a period of intense suffering, God had reassured me that I wasn’t alone. That He was looking out for me through the love and kindness of those around me. He was sending me that same message now, as I worked on my story about suffering.

And, just like last time, He did it through a box of See’s Candies.

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