I have received some interesting mail in my life. One time, a few weeks after a dear friend passed away, I received a letter from her. Not so unusual. It could have gotten delayed in the mail. However, the return address clearly read, “Heaven.”
To say that I was surprised is an understatement. I opened the letter carefully. I don’t know what I thought might pop out. A feather from an angel’s wing? The sound of triumphant trumpets? The pleasing aroma of prayers being answered?
None of that happen. Instead, my friend described, as only she could in her artistic way, how things were going for her. She’d moved out of town a while before this. Chronic health problems that had plagued her for a long time were trying to take hold of her, wrestle her to the ground and make her say, “Uncle” three times and spit over her right shoulder for good luck.
In other words, she needed additional help. She found that help through a loving brother who lived in another state. The reason for her move.
Her letter was filled with humor. Also with the truth of her situation sprinkled throughout like a light seasoning that adds flavor without being overbearing. Mixed with, as always, loving friendship that is so precious between two Christian friends.
I enjoyed reading her letter because it was just like talking with her in person. Good writers have that ability. Their words make you feel like they’re sitting right next to you. In fact, as I began reading her letter, I grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down for our little “chat.”
At the letter’s conclusion, she said that she was sending me a special package the next week. She wanted me to be aware of its arrival. I waited, but I never received the package. Its contents will forever remain a mystery. Although I think I know. She’d once told me that she was going to leave all her writing to me. She never married and had no nieces or nephews. She knew that I’d be a good steward of her gift. And what a tremendous gift she had. Of all the writers I’ve had the privilege to know and to meet in my life, she’s right up there with the best of the best.
Where all those words are now, I have no idea. But since they were such an integral part of who she was, I believe that those words somehow accompanied her to Heaven. I imagine that as she closed her eyes here on earth and opened them in Glory, all those beautiful words she wrote about her Lord swirled around her like a crown.
As anyone who writes by the inspiration of the Lord knows, it’s a unique calling. There are times when the Lords calls you to share more about yourself than you feel comfortable. At times with my own writing I’ve jokingly thought to myself, “Oh, oh. My Freudian slip is showing.”
But the book of James make something very clear. We are called to be doers of the word and not just hearers only (James 1:22). Our faith is to be alive and moving. Not stagnant and complacent. Faith without works is dead faith (James 2:26). Even though my friend is gone, the influence of her faith is alive in me.
How did my friend’s letter find me? I suspect that her brother was going through her things and found the letter addressed to me. The only thing left to do was to place her return address label in the upper left hand corner. Instead, he added her new and permanent return address, Heaven.
There’s no doubt that Heaven is her residence. She shared her faith as easily and as naturally as most people breathe. Never in an obnoxious or forceful way, but in a natural, relaxed manner. Even more importantly, she lived out her faith every moment of every day. Her humble and gentle manner influenced others, including me. And the letter, the one from Heaven, is just a reminder to me that God sends good people to us to help us on this journey of life, which is simply our journey to Him.
Kathy Yoder is a devotional writer. She may be reached at email@example.com.