“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere, without moving anything but your heart.” — Phyllis Grissim-Theroux
I can still hear the rumble of the mailman’s car and the screech of its breaks as it pulls in front of our house, the scrape of the mailbox’s rusty hinges when opened, and the hollow metal twang as it slams shut. As the car pulls away, I see my younger self racing down the drive, hoping to find an envelope addressed to me, a letter from someone I love—one with the ancient acronym S.W.A.K., sealed with a kiss, penned across its flap.
We had no personal computers to connect, no cell phones to text, and no social media outlets to chat. We had no internet. The closest thing we had to instant messaging was face-to-face gatherings at the soda shop, dancing the Mashed Potato, the Monkey, the Swim, or twisting the night away at a school sock hop. We attended church socials, visited our neighbors, and talked on the telephone—on party lines, for heaven’s sake—to the dismay of neighbors who shared the same line. We even wrote letters—by hand—with pen and paper. We didn’t know how primitive our way of communicating was. Ignorance was bliss.
It would have been unthinkable for me to pull a love letter from the box and lay it on a shelf unopened, but isn’t that what we do with God’s love letter to us when we don’t read our Bibles? Although pages of my Bible have pulled away from the spine, there are days when I don’t open it. Only God knows what expressions of His love I missed that day.
Last week, as I sat with my Bible in my lap, it saddened me to see it was falling apart. But then, God reminded me of what saddens His heart—a Bible that sits on a shelf unopened. Yes, its exterior is pristine; its pages smell new and still stick together, but it hasn’t fulfilled its purpose—and neither will we if we fail to read it.
Looking at a section that had pulled away from the spine, my eyes fell on words highlighted in yellow from Daniel 4: I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous. The tree grew large and strong, and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth. Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it, the wild animals found shelter, and the birds lived in its branches; from it, every creature was fed.
Although the leaves of my Bible are tattered, they are beautiful to the Author of this Love Letter to mankind. Within its pages is an abundance of fruit—food for all. A place of shelter from storms that come our way, a table where every person is fed, and abundant fruit is produced in our lives.
God reminds me that although my Bible has fallen apart and needs a bit of tender loving care, it isn’t sad—not sad at all. A well-read Bible means a well-fed soul. Better my Bible falls apart than me.
Now it’s your turn. Surprise someone today with a hand-written letter and tell them you love them.
*** This article was first published in The Randolph Hub, February 2022