"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Friday, June 6, 2008

Letter from a friend

One of my favorite books is Macrina Wiederkehr's A Tree Full of Angels. She begins the chapter entitled "Finding God in the Mailbox" like this: "Letters are the stories of our souls. Unlike a telephone call, a letter can be picked up again and again. It can be deeply pondered. It can be eaten. Always serve letters with a cup of tea and a footstool. Celebrate 'the reading' slowly. It is irreverent to read a letter fast.

"I treasure my letters like early morning sunrises. I see the rays between the lines. I hear the dreams and yearnings, the gratitude and the delight. I hear the questions and the musings, all coming from the heart of this newly published author. A letter bears its own copyright. Standing before my mailbox holding an original very limited edition in my hands is like standing before a feast."

I wish I had written that; it's certainly my sentiments.

I think we've lost the art of letter writing. Of sitting still and penning our thoughts, of neatly folding and placing the freshly inked paper in the envelope just the right way so it comes out perfectly, of personally addressing and stamping it, and then actually going to the post office and dropping it in the slot -- all the while thinking of the one to whom it's destined. No. Now we just sit down quickly in front of the screen, type our 60 words a minute and hit "send." I'm guilty as the next guy.

What has me thinking about Wiederkehr's chapter is the letter I received this morning from a dear friend who was such a large part of my life many years ago. He wrote of a quiet morning, a Sabbath rest, and an evening planned with some close friends. He spoke of an upcoming time of renewal -- personal, spiritual and professional; of underestimating the power of presence and of Christ working through him as he plans for a trip to Liberia. And, yes, he even spoke of missing a southern accent.

No, it wasn't hand written; it, too, showed up in my inbox. But it really didn't matter. It was the heart of a friend and a very holy moment for me. I sanctified it by going to my music room and sitting at my piano for awhile. You see, I was his hands and he was my voice. Together we made music and worshiped our God.

It was just a letter -- an ordinary moment. But I think I'll pour myself a cup of tea and pull up a footstool.


Phillip said...

I read your posting. I am humbled. Or as they say in South GA, UMbled.

Chris said...

I knew of who you spoke even before I saw the name on the comment post. Although the years and miles separate us, I can close my eyes and remember the laughter, the birds playing outside your kitchen window, and the sound of our songs. I'm so thankful for the memories of those special moments with both of you.

Marcilla said...

I, too, have recently experienced the excitement of hearing from a long-time friend. What a joy to hear from her, telling of her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren who are returning from a year in China as missionaries. This was exciting to me because I taught her daughter in seventh grade quite a few years ago. I do hope to have an opportunity to visit with all of them and hear their stories about what God is doing in China.

.........Bill......... said...

Good to know Phillip and Chris are still kicking. It has been a long time. Enjoy reading the blog. It is another way we are blessed by your gift of teaching. Bill