Unexpected Blessing from the Basement

Guest blogger Daniel Kessel stumbled upon a mysterious object that offered a glimpse into the past.

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A painting of a lighthouse on the beach from Publishers Clearing House

Today's guest blogger is Mysterious Ways assistant editor Daniel Kessel.

It’s always sad when you realize the holidays are over. The house is suddenly empty, and you’re left with the mess of the holiday season past: crusty pie dishes in the sink, Christmas-tree pine needles on the floor, New Year’s confetti everywhere.

This year, as I helped clean up the mess at my parents’ house, I thought about how peaceful the break had been. I’d slept in, seen friends from high school, gone to the movies with my mom, dad and brother. How I could extend that holiday relaxation into 2014?

As I wandered into the basement to put away a box of Christmas decorations, I turned on the bare light bulb, revealing an underground world of old books, furniture and boxes. I found a spot for the decorations and something caught my eye: an unfamiliar wooden frame leaning against the wall. Where had that come from? I flipped it over, curious to see what the picture was.

Actually, it was a painting. A pleasant beach scene: foam lapping the shore, seagulls diving into the waves, pink clouds hanging in the sky. Against the cliffs in the distance, a lighthouse–one of my parents’ favorite motifs. I brought the painting upstairs. “What’s this?” I asked.

Mom’s face lit up. “We never told you the story?”

“Nope,” I replied.

“We won it in a contest once,” Dad explained. “It was one of those Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. Your grandfather thought we were nuts for participating. Winning this painting was our little triumph.”

Publishers Clearing House? I thought they only gave out that multimillion dollar prize from Ed McMahon. Evidently that’s what my grandfather thought too–the odds of winning that prize were astronomical. Imagine his surprise when they told him they’d won!

My parents hadn’t won big, but their story made me chuckle. The painting had hung in their bedroom for years, the perfect companion to their lighthouse theme. Somehow I’d never noticed. They had only taken it down last year, when they repainted the walls, and had left it in the basement ever since.

Now, with my parents’ blessing, this serene painting of the beach has a new home here at our office. A reminder of the peaceful holidays of 2013 on the one hand, and a nod toward the Mysterious Ways we plan to hear and share in 2014 on the other.

Have you ever discovered a mysterious object in your basement or attic? We want to know!

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