Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sweetness in an envelope

I've been caught up in worries in the last week, caught up in such worries that it's like I'm breathing toxic fumes, sick with them, finding it hard to sleep, think, or get out of my own head. You might tell me that I play right into the enemy's hands when I respond to worry this way. You'd be right. My head knows it but at times the distance between my head and my heart feels much longer than the short distance the blood actually has to flow. Miles longer.

But 'good news from far away is like good medicine.' That's what Proverbs says, and so I found it yesterday. Amid the bills and ads junk mail came one letter. You know what I'm talking about, don't you? A letter in which someone writes (or types) to another person (or people) on paper, puts it into an envelope, puts a stamp on it and mails it through the postal service. Such things are becoming obsolete except at holidays. But we got such a letter yesterday, and it was a good one. A great one. One of the best from one of the most important people in my adult life. It was from my favorite professor and his wife. He was a life-line the first term I was in seminary, which I began the week after my father died. He taught a seminar I was desperate to take. He allowed me in, already sensing that I needed it in more than just academic ways. Over the years I was at Regent College we became friends, a friendship which included his wife and Beve. We spent many weekends at their home, working in their kitchen, serving students, sharing great meals, talking deeply while home-made candles burned in their hanging candelabra. Beve always made his cinnamon rolls for breakfast, my professor introduced us to the smokey tea called Lapsong Suchong, which we drank just before bed. Their book-lined home (and I mean, EVERY wall is book-lined!!!) on the water on the island in British Columbia has always been one of our favorite places to 'get away,' even when we worked very hard with this couple the whole time together. And (and this is no small thing) this professor was my supervising prof for my thesis, which was a novel. Yes, he was the first--best--reader of my still-unpublished novel.

But our kids got older, they got older. We haven't been out to their island home for several years now. The last time we saw them, they were stuck on this side of the border, and spent the evening with us. Beve often tells me I should get in touch with them, but I have been shy about it. They have many people in their lives. Many people who love them, want pieces of them.

So to get this letter, to be reminded of them, of their goodness, their inimitable selves and their profound impact on our lives was sweet. Sometimes sweetness is all we need to dispel the gloom no, let's call it what it is: darkness that the enemy wants to keep us in when we get stuck in worry. We need to know that we have others with us, others who are strong and true and living their lives well.

1 comment:

Pamela M. Steiner said...

Like a breath of fresh air, huh? I love getting letters like that. You are correct...we don't get enough real "snail mail" anymore, and I miss it...even though I am just as guilty about not writing anymore. Facebook/email/blogging has taken over...but maybe that just isn't personal enough. Kind of like reading a real book instead of an online book...I love to feel the pages, hold them in my hands and breathe in the sweetness...just like you. Yep. I hope this means you will be in contact with your special friends again soon and maybe go spend some time with them. Sounds like a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing your good news with us. I loved it.