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Today I sit at the kitchen table, sipping coffee as I always do. Before me sits a box. Not an ordinary box, but one of the most unique and beautiful boxes I have ever seen. Light bark interlaces with the dark of the ironwood this box is made of. It’s not a large box, measuring 10 inches in length and standing 4 inches high and deep,

Inside it are great treasures.

Tucked into a small recess are 28 pieces of glossy smooth dark ironwood dominos. These aren’t just any dominos… these are the dominos that C and I used to play dominos together every week for hours on end. P has given them to me as a rememberance of the dearly loved man we laid to rest recently. Randomly picking one out of the box, my fingertips tell me it’s double sixes.

And I smile. For as beautiful as these dominos are, the real treasure lies in their significance to me. These were the dominos that were often set up and waiting before I even hit the door hollering “Good morning”… the ones that the “Domino King” never allowed me to win more than 2 games with… the ones we laughed over as we put them back in their box, racing to see who’d get done first… the ones I often heard “one more game?” over after we’d finished the usual 7 games.

As I sit and run my fingers over the smooth wood, I can feel the love and warmth eminating from them and I see his face as he sat studying the backs of the dominos as he picked his out. Oh how he studied them! I swear the man KNEW which one was double six even turned face down. Always allowing me to pick first, his brow would pucker slightly if my hand hovered close to it. If I failed to pick it, he always would… going for it with determination that told me he knew just where it was. He would lay it down with a satisfied “Hah!” and play the rest of his tiles with the same concentration and determination, shooting me a silly grin after an especially good move. In between moves, we would watch westerns and chat with P as she sat watching us, often stopping to look up and simply say “I love you” and smile. And when the match was over we would put them back in the box together in preparation for another day of play soon.

The dominos remain in the box exactly as we put them the last time we played except for the one double six in my hand.

Tangible reminders of the lessons a man taught me from his wheelchair… lessons about never giving up, finding a way to make yourself useful to others in this life no matter what your limitations, living life with a childlike wonder, and of loving fiercely as if there were no tomorrow. Lessons of joy and determination and Jesus and hope.

The dominoes may remain the same but my heart and soul do not. For this man touched my heart and soul with his love and his life and in the process, changed mine forever!

Treasures of the heart!