That letter you always wanted to receive
I arrived home the other night and as per my routine, I went to open the mailbox. Before I did I had this idea that I would receive the letter that I always wanted. I have a feeling that a lot of us wait for that letter.
Then I thought, “Why don’t I wait and see what comes and then write that letter.”
As I waited I was reminded of a letter that I read to a guy many years ago. The letter was from his mum. He had been adopted but here was a letter from his birth mum, I asked him if had he read it and he said no. I asked did he want to read it and somehow I read the letter. In reading it I had to excuse myself. He seemed ok but I was in tears in the toilets, that letter impacted me. What was it? It was how she told him she loved him despite what had happened or the fact that she had to give him up.
I left my thoughts as I had to get ready for a Quaker Zoom Meeting.
As I sat waiting in silence during the Meeting my mind wandered back to the idea of a letter and what would I read in this letter.
First off it would be very clear that I was loved. I guess that is why I was thinking of reading the letter to the guy who had been adopted. Despite not being able to care for him his mother wanted him to know that she loved him. So despite what I may at times feel about myself, the letter would tell me I am loved. Come to think of it I was moved by the letter and it wasn’t addressed to me. There was something about the words that touched a need in me to be loved.
I then felt impressed to write down things from my life that God had noticed.
As a twelve-year-old, I, with others would hang out in the fields down by the river near where we lived. On this occasion, the person claiming to own the field told us we were in his field and we shouldn’t. He was with his wife and she echoed what he said. They didn’t remove us or perhaps we wouldn’t be moved. On my way home I came upon a set of keys, I picked them up having some idea he or his wife had dropped them. I hadn’t walked far when I met his wife searching for her keys. I gave them to her. What I remember about that experience is her attitude towards me changed. She was grateful and I went from being a trespasser to the finder of her keys!
Another occasion came to mind. I was sitting in class looking out the window when I saw a dog running along the road. I recognised the dog from a ‘Lost dog’ poster. I ran home and told the owner who found their dog. They gave me a fiver as a reward.
And then I saw another occasion. I was now 15. A group of us lads would take the train into Belfast just before Christmas. This year as we returned to the station I found a wallet on the ground. I picked it up and gave it to the local newsagent. He recognised the owner by the contents. The owner then sent me a letter thanking me and with a cheque for another fiver.
Then there was an occasion when working with the homeless I felt that one of the men had been missold a product and I sought to get him a replacement. For some reason, the company was not very receptive to helping him leading to me becoming indignant, in the end, we got the replacement.
And then came to mind my friendship with a person who others found difficult. I just saw their need for friendship which usually involved having a cup of tea with them. I learned a lot through that person.
And now my mind is flooded with instances in which I involved myself in situations where I thought someone needed assistance.
Now those who know me will know there could be many instances, particularly in my teenage years, of me causing others trouble. These were not in the letter.
Curiously just prior to the thought about the letter I was challenging myself for not being empathetic towards particularly refugees and asylum seekers. I was challenging myself that I should do more yet I lack motivation and time. The letter seemed to be telling me that when moved I will move and perhaps I should rest in that rather than guilt that serves no purpose.
PS if you write such a letter it would be great to receive it.